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NADIR SH"A"H 


A Critical Study Based Mainly 
Upon Contemporary Sources 


By 

L. LOCKHART, B.A., PhJD. 


With a Foreword by 

Si& E. Denison Ross, C.I.E., D.Lirr., etc 



LONDON 

LUZAC & CO, 

46 Or 1 at Russell Street, W.C. i 
i93B 



& t tit UmiJ'UM $,r»rn*t Mr 



FOREWORD 


I have great pleasure in acceding to Dr. Lockhart’s request that I should 
contribute a short Foreword to this volume. 

Although the work itself, in view of its historical importance and the 
evidence .it gives of much scholarly research, stands in no need of any 
introduction, it ys perhaps fitting that I should say something about 
Dr, Lockhart himself, seeing that I have been closely associated with 
him in his studies tor many years past. At Cambridge, after taking 
1 lonours in I listory, he studied Persian and Arabic under Professors 
Edward C. Browne, A. A. Bevan and R. A. Nicholson, and secured 
a first class in both parts of the Oriental Languages Tripos. At a later 
date, hate having ordained that he should find employment in Iran, 
he took the opportunity of becoming intimately acquainted with that 
country, its people and its language. From time to time, when he 
came to England, either on duty or on leave, he always devoted such 
leisure as he could find to working at the School of Oriental Studies. 

When, a few years ago, he was transferred to London, he determined 
to take advantage of the accessibility of its important libraries and to turn 
to useful account the knowledge that he had acquired. It was then that 
he set about the examination of the sources in Persian and in European 
languages for the history of that amazing adventurer, Nadir Shah, and 
was finally to produce a thesis which gained for him the Ph.D. degree 
in the University of London. Since then, as he has explained in his 
Preface, he has pursued his researches still further and has been able to 
make full use of a Life of Nadir which existed in a unique copy in 
Leningrad. A debt of gratitude is due to the Soviet authorities, who at 
my request caused a photostat of this precious MS. to be made for the 
School of Oriental Studies. 

It should, I think, be realised that Dr. Ixxkhart has only been able to 
devote his out-of-office hours to this work, and that he has not found 
time to examine any records further afield than London or Paris. 

Nevertheless I doubt if he has left any stone unturned in his search 
lor materials concerning Nadir Shah, and the present scholarly contri- 
bution to the history of this politically important period is, I feel, bound 
to achieve immediate recognition from students of Persian and Indian 
history and to hold its own as a standard authority. 

E. Denison Ross. 



To the Memory ok 
Edward Granviu.e Browne 



PREFACE 


My interest in Nadir Shah was first aroused when I examined two books, 
one m Spanish and the other in Portuguese, belonging to Sir Arnold 
V\ ilson ; these books were, respectively, Le Margne’s Vida de Thamas 

(ti v aH a , n i ^ ou ^ on ’ s Verdadeira Noticia , the first being a life 
T't ii ■ j *' juid the second an account of the happenings at Karnal and 
Delhi during Nadir s invasion of India. 

Some years later, when I decided to study for the London Ph.D. 
degree, 1 chose Nadir’s career as my subject. A few months after I 
had submitted my thesis, the School of Oriental Studies acquired from 
the 1 nst i tut V ostokovedeniya, ol Leningrad, a photostat copy of the 
unique MS. ol Muljammad Kaxim’s history of Nadir’s reign. Thanks 
to the generosity ol the Librarian of the School of Oriental Studies, I 
lave had this photostat copy of the MS. on loan for a considerable time. 
In the light ol what I have found in this source and in other sources, 
not previously available, I have rewritten the greater part of my thesis : 
the result is the present book. 

It is .my pleasant duty to acknowledge here many acts of kindness. 

have, in particular, to thank Professor Minorsky for his encouragement 
ami lor many most helpful suggestions. I am also much indebted to 
. u E. Denison Ross lor his valuable advice and for his kindness in con- 
senting to write the Foreword of this book. I owe a great deal to my 
Iricnd Mr. J.. F. Baddeley, who has been most helpful in connection 
with certain ol the Russian authorities consulted and who has generously 
allowed me to utilise his map ol Daghistan in the preparation of my own 
map ol that, region. As regards Nadir’s Indian campaign, I am very 
grateful to Sir jadunath Sarkar for much most valuable advice and help 
and lor lending me one of his manuscripts. I have also to thank Sir 
Edward Mackgan lor his great kindness in placing at my disposal some 
extremely useful notes. A number of further acknowledgments are 
made m the book. 

As regards the illustrations, Professor Arthur Upham Pope has been 
good enough to take specially for me. some views of the shrine of the 
Imam Rida at Mashhad, showing Nadir’s additions and embellishments, 
amd the Institut Vostokovedcniya, of Leningrad, has very kindly furnished 
me with several photographic reproductions of the illustrations in the 
kifab-i-Niidiri and Nadir-'Nanm of Muhammad Kazim. I must also 


Vll 



viii PREFACE 

express my gratitude to the authorities of the India Museum for the 
photograph of the portrait of Nadir which is in their possession, and to 
my friends Sir Percy Sykes and Mr. G. T. Swann for their views of, 
respectively, Kubkan and the ruins of Old Oandahar. I am also 
mo_st grateful to Mr. C. Sledger for the care and attention with 
which he has prepared the maps. 

In conclusion, I must express my thanks to the University of I,.,»dnn 
for making me a substantial grant from the Publication Lund, and I 
have likewise to give grateful acknowledgment to the Royal Central 
Asian Society for advancing me a further sum in aid of the 'publh atioj: 
of this book. 

I .ArKt.M'J- 1 A H'K MART. 



K 


II. 

III. 

IV. 

V. 

VI. 

VII. 

VIII. 

IX. 

X. 

XL 

XII. 

XIII. 

XIV. 
XV. 


CONTENTS 

Foreword 

Preface 

List of Illustrations 

List of Mars - - _ _ 

List of Abbreviations 
.Notf on tiih Chronology 
Xoti: on mi; Transliteration 

Introductory. The Decline and Fall of the Safavis : 

he Afoiian, Russian and Turkish Invasions of 
Persia - 

Nadir s Origin and Kari.y Career - 

Kari.y Relations iietween Nadir and Tahmasp : The 
Capture of Mashhad and Minor Campaigns 
1726-1729 - _ _ _ 'l 

I he Expulsion of the Ghalzais 

Nadir’s First Turkish Campaign and his Final Sub- 
jection of the Ahdalis 

{ ah mas p’s Disastrous Turkish Campaign and his 

hVHHKQ U KNT IMPOSITION - 

Resumption of the War with Turkey : Nadir’s 
Mesopotamian Campaign 

Nadir’s Campaigns, 1734-36 : Beginnings of his Navy 
Nadir’s Coronation 

The Truck between Persia and Turkey : Nadir’s 
Relations with Russia : Capture of Bahrain : 
Bakhtiari Operations - - - _ _ ’ . 

The Reconquest of Oandaiiar 

I he Invasion of India: Oandaiiar to Karnal 
I he Invasion of India: Karnal - 
I he Invasion of India: Delhi - 
I he Invasion ok India: Delhi to Nadirabad - 


PAGE 

V 

VII 

XI 

XI 

XIII 

XV 

XV 

I 

17 

2 5 

35 

46 

55 

65 

80 

96 

105 
1 12 
122 

*35 

144 

*55 



X CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PACE 

XVI. Rida Quli Mirza’s Invasion of Turkistan : Ibrahim 

Khan’s Last Campaign ------- 1D3 

XVII. The Viceroyalty of Rida Quli Mirza - - - 1 74 

XVIII. The First ‘Oman Campaign and Operations in the 

Persian Gulf, 1737-1740 - - - - - -is:. 

XX. The Daghistan Campaign ------- to’- 


XXL Operations in the Persian Gulf, 1740-1747, and the 

Second ‘Oman Expedition - - - - - -.11/ 

XXII. The Turkish War: The Mesopotamian Campugn 3 
XXIII. Revolts in Persia, 1743-1744 - - - - - - ’3 

XXIV. The Resumption and Conclusion of the Turkish 
War, 1744-1746 

XXV. The Culminating Tragedy - ■ 

XXVI. Nadir’s Attainments and Personal Characs i.risih - < /oh 

Appendix I. - •• - - - - 

Appendix II. - • .'hi 

Appendix lit. - * - 

Bibliography - - - - - - - - - \ •, .• 

Index of Sources - - - - - - - 

Index : 1 



USX OF ILLUSTRATIONS 


N mur Shah - - Frontispiece 

Thk Village OK Kuhkan ------ -facing page 20 


Sot'TH SIDE OF THK SaH N-I-KuhNA OK THK SHRINK OF TIIE 
Imam Rida at* Mashhad, showing Nadir’s 


Minaret and his Golden Gate » 

Rdins of *inK Citadel ok Oandahar » 

View from, the Citadel ok Oandahar ----■>■> 
Nadir Shah entering Peshawar 


Marriage ok ‘ An Gen Khan and the Princess 

Kethlwan — — — — — — — — — D 

Nadir Shah defeats the Oziikgs - - - - » 

The: Mock Istiqiial ok Taqi Khan Shirazi and his Son 
at Isfahan after their Defeat and Capture - „ 

Mashhad ; — Nadir’s Golden Gate 

, View of part of the Golden Gate - „ 


33 

26 

73 

120 

3 1 

120 

33 

128 

37 

170 

>3 

188 

3 3 

242 

>3 

276 

33 

277 


LIST OF MAPS 


Northern Khurasan - 

Thk Herat District 

Oandahar (Husainahad) and its Surroundings 
Nadir’s Route from Bari rah to Jamrud via Siah 
the Tsatsobi Pass ------ 

'I'm: Battle of Karnai. 

Khwarizm " 

Daghistan and Shi 

Map Illustrating Nadir’s Campaigns - 


PACK 

- - - 19 

- - - 33 
. - - 115 

Chob and 

127 

- - - L37 

_ - - 191 

202 

At end of book 


XI 




LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS 

Bayan.—Bayan-i-Waqi', by ‘Abdu’l-Karim Kashmiri. 

B.M. British Museum. 

E.I.— li n cyclo pcvdia of Islam-. 

H. de la G.—IIistoire de la Georgia, by M. F. Brosset. 

BO. — India Office. 

J.R. A.S. ---Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 
J.R.A.S.B.— Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Benga] 

J. R.C.AS. -Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society. 

K. N.- -Kiki b-i-Nad in, by Muhammad Kazim. 

N.N. -Nadir-Nama, by Muhammad Kazim. 

N. S. -New Style. 

O. s. Old Style. 

S. P. - -Stale Papers (at the Public Record Office). 

Si y ar - Siyaru’l-Muta'akhkhirin , by Glmlam Husain Khan ' 

T. N. -Ta'rikh-i-Sadiri, by Mirza Muhammad Mahdi, of As 

Z T - Aubdalu' i-I'au'arikh , by Muhammad Muhsin. 




CHAPTER I 


INTRODUCTORY 

The Decline and Fall of the Safavis : 
the Afghan, Russian and Turkish Invasions 

of Persia 

A characteristic of the East has been the periodic bursting forth 
(“ appearance ” is too mild a word) there of great conquerors, who 
overran vast stretches of country, ravaging, killing and destroying. 
Such scourges of humanity were Chingiz Khan, Timur Lang and Nadir 
Shah. There are a number of points of similarity between the careers 
of Chingiz Khan and Timur, and there are still more between those 
of the latter and Nadir Shah. In fact, the parallels between Timur 
and Nadir are so numerous as to rule out mere coincidence, except in 
certain of the earlier cases. In other words, there is no doubt that Nadir 
deliberately modelled his career upon that of Timur. 

Although it is impossible to overlook or to excuse Nadir’s cruelty 
and the appalling loss of life and the terrible suffering which he caused, 
there can be no gainsaying that he was a very great man. 1 It was a 
remarkable achievement to rise from shepherd boy to Shah, but it was an 
even greater feat on his part not only to free Persia from the grip of 
powerful enemies, but also to raise her from the lowest depths to the 
proud position of being the foremost power in Asia. 

In order to enable the reader to form an idea of the state of Persia 
at the time when Nadir first came into prominence, it is necessary to 
describe briefly the course of events there during the preceding quarter 
of a century. 

It is beyond the scope of this book to go fully into the causes of the 
decline and fall of the Safavi dynasty. The main reason for the disaster 
which ultimately overtook the dynasty was the deterioration in the char- 
acter of the monarchs. This unfortunate development was the natural 
result of the pernicious policy which Shah ‘Abbas I introduced of keeping 
the heir to the throne and his brothers immured in the harem where, 
shut off from the outside world, they received a most imperfect education. 
Within those walls, they could get no training in the arts of war of of 

1 Vdmbdry, in his History of Bokhara (London, 1873), p. 339, calls Nadir Shah the last great 
Asiatic conqueror. 


I 


B 



2 


NADIR SHAH 


peace ; moreover, they generally fell under the baleful influence of the 
self-seeking eunuchs. Consequently, when at length the moment came 
for the heir to succeed to the throne, he was singularly unfitted for the 
duties of sovereignty, and was forced to rely for guidance upon the eunuchs 
and nobles. Amongst other causes of the decline of the Safavis was the 
neglect of the army which, in consequence, became progressively less and 
less efficient as the years went by. When in 1694 the meek and pious 
but effete Sultan Husain became Shah, the doom of the Safavi dynasty 
was sealed. His character was in strange contrast to those of the earlier 
members of his line. He was one of the gentlest of men, and held 
the shedding of even animal blood in the greatest abhorrence. He 
cared nothing for regal power and was entirely without ambition. In 
short, he was far more fitted for the cloister than he was for the throne. 1 

The first few years of the new Shah’s reign were peaceful in the extreme, 
but in 1699 signs of the coming storm appeared. In that year Baluch 
tribesmen carried out several forays into the province of Kirman. Two 
years later, a disturbance occurred in the province of Qandahar, but it 
was quelled with ruthless severity by the Georgian prince, Giorgi XI of 
Kartli, who was known to the Persians as Gurgin Khan. 2 After crushing 
this revolt, Gurgin Khan remained in Qandahar as Governor of the 
province ; his garrison was largely composed of Georgians, whose cruelty 
to the Ghalzai tribesmen led to serious discontent amongst them. Well 
over a century before, the Ghalzais, together with the Abdalis, another 
large Afghan tribe, had migrated westward and south-westward from 
their mountain country and settled upon the more fertile plains of 
Qandahar and Zamindavar and the valleys of the Arghandab and Tarnak. 
Shah ‘Abbas I, in consequence of a rising of the Abdalis, banished most 
of them to the neighbouring province of Herat ; the Ghalzais were thus 
left by far the most powerful and influential community in Qandahar. 
By the beginning of the XVIIIth century, they had increased in numbers 
and importance ; their chief was Mir Wais, 3 the astute head of the 
Hotiki clan. 

Goaded to desperation by the Georgians’ behaviour, the Ghalzais at 
length rebelled, but Gurgin Khan defeated them, captured Mir Wais, 
and sent jhim under strong guard to Isfahan. On arrival at the 
capital, Mir Wais had no difficulty in deceiving the simple Shah Sultan 

1 In later years, however, Shah Sultan Husain grew extremely uxorious, besides becoming addicted 
to drink. Cornelius le Bruyn, who was in Isfahan in 1704, gave a most unfavourable account 
of his character in his Travels into Muscovy, Persia and Part of the East Indies (London, 1737), 
Vol. I, pj>. 211 and 212. 

* For a description of Gurgin Khan’s character and qualities, see Vakhusht, in Brosset's Histoire 

ae la Giorgie, Vol. II, Part I, pp. 178 and 179. 

* For Mir Wais’s genealogy, real or supposed, see Muhammad Hayat Khan’s If ay at-i- Afghani, 

Urdu text (Lahore, 1867), pp. 257 and 262. 



INTRODUCTORY 


3 


Husain and in poisoning the latter’s mind against Gurgin Khan. The 
result was that the Shah not only released the Afghan chief, but later 
allowed him to return to Qandahar. On a suitable opportunity occurring, 
Mir Wais murdered Gurgin Khan ; rousing his people to attack the 
Persian and Georgian garrison, he defeated them, killing a large number 
and driving the survivors out of the province. 1 When the news reached 
the court, a strong expedition under the command of Kai Khusrau Khan, 
a nephew of the late Gurgin Khan, was sent to restore the Shah’s authority 
in Qandahar and to punish the rebels. Though successful in his first 
encounters with the Ghalzais, Kai Khusrau was ultimately defeated and 
killed, and only a remnant of his army returned. Several further ex- 
peditions were sent to subdue Mir Wais, but they all met with disaster. 
After being a virtually independent ruler for six years, Mir Wais died 
in 1715. He was succeeded by his brother ‘Abdu’l-Aziz, whose pacific 
nature and desire to submit to Isfahan soon rendered him unpopular. 
Incited by several of the principal Ghalzais, Mahmud, the elder son of 
Mir Wais, murdered his uncle in 1717, and became chief in his stead. 
Mahmud, although without the guile and necessarily without the experience 
of his father, soon proved himself to be a bold and resolute leader. 

In the previous year (1716), the Abdalis, who were then more numerous 
than the Ghalzais, 2 had been encouraged by the success achieved by the 
latter to revolt. Taking advantage of a mutiny of the Persian garrison of 
Herat, the Popalzai Abdali chief ‘Abdullah Khan Sadozai and his son 
Asadullah managed to escape from prison (into which the Governor of 
Herat had cast them on a charge of sedition), and headed a successful 
rising. The Shah’s ministers made several attempts to subdue the Abdalis, 
but these efforts were ill-directed and met with the same fate as the expedi- 
tions against the Ghalzais. The contemporary Persian historian, 
Muhammad Muhsin, has given, in his Zubdatu 't-Tawarikh. (“ Cream of 
the Histories ”), a long and detailed account of these endeavours to crush 
the Ghalzai and Abdali revolts, and refers in scathing terms to the des- 
picable conduct of the venal and incompetent ministers and nobles, 
who : 

“ by reason of vain personal objects and hypocrisy . . . veiled their eyes to what 
was expedient for the state. Every time that any of them wished to move (against 
the Afghans) each (of the others) would make an excuse and prevent anything from 

1 Only the barest outline of these events has been given above ; fuller particulars are to be found, 
in the Polish Jesuit Krusinski’s The History of the Revolution of Persia (du Cerceau’s English 
translation, London, 1728), Vol. I, and in la, Mamye-Clairac’s Histoire de Perse ie-puis le 
Commencement de ce Siicle, (Paris, 1750) Vol. I. 

1 This statement is made on the authority of Mirza Muhammad Mahdi Khan, of Astarabad, in 
his official biography of Nadir Shah known as the Tar’ikh-i-Nadiri (Bombay edition, 1849), 
p. 4- 



4 


NADIR SHAH 


being done. They postponed their departure and occupied themselves with pleasure. 
For three years (i.e., from 1717 to 1720) they stayed in Qazvin, 1 practising the 
selling of offices and receiving bribes. . . .” 2 


Even when hostilities broke out between the Ghalzais and Abdalis, the 
ministers took no advantage of the opportunity thus provided to re- 
establish the Shah’s authority. The struggle between the two tribes 
was inconclusive ; while the Ghalzais lost Farah, they defeated the Abdalis 
at Dilaram in a battle in which Asadullah Sadozai lost his life. Mahmud 
then made a feigned submission to the Shah, who, completely taken in, 
officially appointed him Governor of Qandahar. Mahmud soon showed 
that his loyalty was only a pretence, for, in 1720, he made a raid into 
Persia as far as Kirman ; there, he was defeated and driven back by 
Lutf ‘Ali Khan, the only brave and competent general in the Shah’s service. 
Nevertheless, as he was soon to demonstrate, Mahmud’s retreat was a 
case of reculer pour mieux sauter ; he had discovered how vulnerable the 
Safavi state had become. 

In the meantime, serious developments had taken place in other parts 
of the empire, and more were to follow. While the storm clouds were 
banking up alarmingly in the east, they were also beginning to form in 
the north and west. 

Earlier in the century, the turbulent Lazgi mountaineers of Daghistan, 
together with the inhabitants of their colonies at Jar and Tala in the 
Qaniq (Alazan) valley, on the further or south-western side of the 
Caucasian chain, had resumed their raids upon Georgia and Shirvan. 
Half a century before, Shah ‘Abbas II had promised an annual subsidy 
to these Lazgis, on condition that they kept the peace. The subsidy was 
regularly paid until, under the lax control or rather lack of control of 
Shah Sultan Husain, the Persian ministers and officials misappropriated 
the money intended for the Lazgis. 3 Besides suffering from the depre- 
dations of the Lazgis, the people of Shirvan, being mostly Sunnis, had to 
endure fierce persecution at the hands of the intolerant Shi‘a clergy. 
Shah Sultan Husain was much under the influence of the mulhn, who 
became very powerful during his reign. The famous but fanatical 
mujtahid Muhammad Baqir-i-Majlisi, the author of the Bi hand /-Anwar, 
a most celebrated work on Shi‘a tradition, was a great persecutor of the 
Sunnis; he died at the close of the XVIIth century, but his successors 
continued his intolerant policy. In Shirvan, Sunni mullas were put to 
death, mosques were profaned and turned into stables, and religious 


1 Shah Sultan. Husain and his court were at Qazvin from late in 1717 until 1 7zo : 

it temporarily to Tetam before returning to Isfahan. 

* Brovme^ESL, No. G.15 (in the Cambridge University Library), fol. .*05 (a). 


he then moved 



INTRODUCTORY 5 

works were destroyed . 1 In consequence of this treatment, the Sunnis 
of Shirvan appealed several times to the Sultan of Turkey to protect them, 
and many fled into Turkish territory ; those who remained were inspired 
by no feelings of loyalty to Persia ; they were, in fact, ripe for revolt. 

The rising power of Russia, under the inspired guidance of that re- 
markable ruler, Peter the Great, constituted a danger to Persia from a 
new and unexpected quarter. The mission of Artemii Volynski to 
Isfahan, though its object was primarily commercial, furnished Peter 
with much information of a political nature, and went far to convince 
him that Persia was drifting towards disaster ; Volynski, in fact, reported 
that unless Shah Sultan Husain were replaced by some more competent 
monarch, the ruin of the country was inevitable. 2 Peter, however, 
was unable at that stage (1717-18) to take active steps to profit by the 
Persian situation, as he was still deeply involved in the Northern War. 
He nevertheless prepared the ground for future action by sending emissaries 
to Daghistan and later to Georgia. In 1719 ‘Adil Girai, the Shamkhal 3 
of the Ghazi Qumuqs of Tarkhu, threw in his lot with Russia, and is 
said to have done much to encourage Peter in his designs against 
Persia. 4 

Turkey, like Russia, was an interested spectator of the trend of affairs 
in Persia. The Treaty of Passarovitz had been concluded in 1718 ; 
although Turkey was shorn by it of much of her European possessions, she 
was now free to turn her attention eastwards where the troubled state of 
Persia must have suggested to her the possibility of obtaining compensation 
there for her territorial losses in the west. She had doubtless not forgotten 
that from 1578 to 1607 she had been supreme in Adharbaijan, Georgia 
and Shirvan, and felt that the moment was not far distant when she could 
made a bid to seize those provinces again. With a view to obtaining 
reliable information as to the state of Persia, the Porte sent an envoy named 
Durri Efendi to the court at Tehran. Durri Efendi reached Tehran 
at the end of 1720 ; he found that his arrival had greatly perturbed the 
Persian ministers, who feared lest he had come to demand the cession 


1 Von Hammer -Purgs tall ’s Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches, J. J. HeUert’s French translation 
(Paris, 1835-1843), Vol. XIV, p. 87. 

a Schuyler’s Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia, Vol. II, p. 582* 

3 As the late Professor Barthold has explained in his article on Daghistan in the Encyclopedia 

of Islam, the Shamkhals were originally chiefs of the whole Ghazi Qumuq tribe. _ The Ghazi 
Qumuqs had gradually extended their influence from the mountains of Daghistan north- 
eastwards as far as the coast of the Caspian. In 1579 the lands of the Shamkhal Chuban were 
divided up amongst his sons, thus splitting up and greatly weakening the tribe. By degrees 
the mountain and coastal sections became separate entities, and from 1639 the Shamkhals 
ruled over no more than the Tarkhu coastal district. At the time when 'Adil Girai submitted 
to Russia, the leader of the mountain portion of the teibe was a man of strong character 
named Cholaq Surkhai Khan, of whom much will be said hereafter. 

4 Butkov’s Materiali ilia novoy Istorii Kavkaza, 1722-1803, Vol. I, p. 15. 



NADIR SHAH 


6 

of certain provinces. 1 The presence at the court of a Russian consular 
official, Semeon Avramov by name, 2 must have given the Turkish envoy- 
food for thought. After spending three months at Tehran, Durri Efendi 
returned to Constantinople and reported that Persia, though a prosperous, 
well-cultivated country, was apparently very near its end ; he ascribed 
the cause of the troubles then besetting Persia to the lack of men of in- 
telligence at the head of affairs. 

The situation deteriorated even further after the departure of the 
Turkish envoy. Fath ‘Ali Khan Daghistani, the Ptimadu’d-Daula, the 
Shah’s principal minister, was the victim of a plot hatched by his enemies, 
and was dismissed, imprisoned and blinded. His nephew, the capable 
general Lutf ‘Ali Khan, was deprived of his command, while his army 
was disbanded ; the sole military bulwark of any value was thus wantonly 
destroyed. 

In the Persian Gulf the situation had been going from bad to worse. 
In 1717 or early in the following year the Imam Sultan ibn Saif II of 
Muscat, who possessed a powerful fleet, fitted out an expedition to the 
Bahrain Islands, which he seized without, difficulty. 3 The ‘Omani 
Arabs do not appear to have remained long in Bahrain, which, on their 
departure, passed into the hands of Shaikh Jabbara of Tahiti, the head 
of the important Arab tribe of the Huwalas. Although nominally a 
Persian subject, Shaikh Jabbara was, to all intents and purposes, inde- 
pendent of the weak Government at Isfahan. On the mainland, the 
Baluch tribesmen became increasingly active, carrying out raids into the 
provinces of Kirman and Lar. In 17 21, 4,000 Baluch horsemen attacked 
Bandar ‘Abbas ; after plundering the town, the marauders attempted 
to break into the English and Dutch factories there, but they were beaten 
off with heavy loss. 4 

In th^, interior of the country risings took place in Euristan and 
Kurdistan in 1720, 5 and in the same year Malik Mahmud Sistani, the 
Governor of Tun, in north-east Persia, flouted the Shah’s authority. 
Malik Mahmud was an ambitious man who belonged to the Kayani 
family of Sistan and claimed descent from the Snffarkis.** 

1 Relation de Dowry Bffcndy (Paris, x8io), p. 54. (This Firm h tun , latim was made by M. de 
Fienne in X745; Krusinski's Latin translation from thir <uij;inat Turin: h was published in 
* 734 -) 

‘Peter the Great had made Avramov Consul at itosht in September, r/j<> ; hr was the first 
Russian consular official appointed to a post in I Vrsia. 

•Badger’s History of the Imims and Sryyith of Omdtt (translated firm the Aruba of Ssdit ibn 
Raziq), pp. xxix and 94. 

* Captain Alexander Hamilton’s A New Account of the Jiu\t hutii f kdmbtn>;h, j 7 .:•/), pp, 108 and 

109. 

•Muhammad Sharif's Zubdatu'i-Tamtirikh-i-Siniouiiji /Browne MS., <b j,S), fob -’<14 (a). 

* Muhammad Mahdi Khan's Ta'rikh-i-Nadiri, pp, l> and 7 (as frequent tetnetiije will be made to 

thisso urce, it will in future he denoted by the letters T.NL !*.itl.» ‘Ali Khan, the Asian (bash 
Qajar chief of Astarabad, who was then Governor of Mashhad, w a . rut against Malik Mahmud 



INTRODUCTORY 


7 


In the summer of 1721 the Sunnis of Shirvan could endure their 
torments no longer ; under the leadership of a Sunni propagandist named 
Hajji Da’ud, they openly revolted. The rebels were joined by a strong 
contingent of the Ghazi Qumuqs, under their chief Cholaq Surkhai 
Khan, 1 and by many of the Qaraqaitaq (another powerful Daghistan 
tribe), under their Usmi or chief, Ahmad Khan. 2 Both the Ghazi Qumuqs 
and the Qaraqaitaqs were Sunnis, and the former wished not only to assist 
their co-religionists in Shirvan, but also to exact retribution for the Shah’s 
treatment of their compatriot, Fath ‘AH Khan Daghistani. 3 The com- 
bined forces, which were some 15,000 strong, besieged and took Shamakhi. 
A scene of terrible carnage ensued in which over 4,000 of the Shi‘a in- 
habitants perished ; the town was then pillaged. Some Russian mer- 
chants who were established in Shamakhi, although they escaped with 
their lives, lost goods valued at over £100, ooo. 4 Volynski, who was 
Governor of Astrakhan at the time, at once reported the incident to 
Peter the Great. An ominous fact, so far as Persia was concerned, was 
that it was just at this time (August, 1721) that the treaty of Nystadt was 
concluded ; this treaty, which ended the long struggle between Russia 
and Sweden, set Peter free to prepare actively for the realisation of his 
aims in the south-east. 5 

Equally ominous was the action of Turkey in regard to Shirvan ; 
not only did she accede to a request for protection from the rebel leader 
Hajji Da’ud, but she also formally appointed him Khan of that province. 6 

All around Persia, and even within her own borders, the situation 
was now threatening in the extreme ; the only question was from which 
quarter the gathering storms would first break. This question was soon 
answered. 


whom he besieged for a month. On being wounded in the foot, Fath ‘Ali Khan raised the 
siege of Tun and returned to Mashhad ( T.N. , pp. 6 and 7). V. Biichner, in his article on 
Sistan in the Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. IV, p. 459, doubts whether Malik Mahmud’s claim 
to be descended from the Saffarids can be substantiated. 

1 Major J. G. Garber (who was Russian Commissioner on the Russo-Turkish frontier delimitation 
in 1728) gives interesting particulars of Surkhai and Hajji Da’ud in his Nachrichten, in Vol. 
IV of G. F. Mailer’s Sammlung Russischer Geschichte. * 

* T.N., p. 5- 

» Brosset, Histoire de la Giorgie, Vol. II, p. 577. , . ^ 

* A first- hand account, by the French Jesuit Pfcre Bachoud, of the taking of Shamakhi and of the 

scenes that followed is to be found in Lettres Edifiantes el Curieuses (Paris, 1780). Vol. IV, 
p. 123. See also Soloviev’s Istoriya Rossii, Vol. XVIII, p. 37. 

« It has often been maintained that these aims are accurately set forth in the (so-called) Political 
Testament of Peter the Great. In a contribution to the Slavonic Review (January, 1936), 
I have ventured to challenge this view in so fax as Persia is concerned. _ There is reason to 
believe that the “ Testament ” is no more than a Napoleonic forgery which was designed to 
pftejudice European opinion against Russia. 

* Bernhard Dorn, Beitrdge zur Geschichte der Kauhasischen Lander und V other aus Morgen- 

l&ndischen Quellen. II. Geschichte Schirwans unter den Slatthaltern und Chanen, von 1538-1820, 
p. 410. See also von Hammer, op. oil., Vol. XIV, pp. 87 and 88, and Garber, op. cit„ pp. 
70 and 71. 



8 


NADIR SHAH 


Late in 1721 Mahmud of Qandahar, having collected a fresh army, 
again invaded Persia. This time there was no Lutf ‘Ali Khan to oppose 
him ; after taking Kirman and sending off part of his forces to capture 
Shiraz, Mahmud marched to, but failed to take, Yazd. Not wishing to 
waste time besieging the town, he advanced boldly on Isfahan. At 
Gulnabad (or Gulunabad, as it is sometimes called), some twelve miles 
to the east of the capital, the small Afghan force gained a signal victory 
over the far more numerous and better equipped army of the Shah. This 
battle, which was fought on the 8th March, 1722, settled the fate of the 
Safavi dynasty as decisively as Qadisiyya had settled that of the Sasanians. 
After seizing Farahabad, a favourite resort of Shah Sultan Husain, and 
occupying the Armenian suburb of Julfa, Mahmud endeavoured to carry 
Isfahan by assault, but his men were driven off with severe loss. Having 
no cannon larger than zanburaks (light swivel-guns mounted on camels), 
the Afghans were unable to breach the walls with artillery fire ; in view 
of this fact and of the smallness of his force, 1 Mahmud decided to blockade 
the city. 

With the exception of one episode which has a considerable bearing 
upon subsequent events, there is no need to mention here the incidents 
of the siege and the terrible sufferings of the inhabitants in its later stages. 
When, after nearly three months had elapsed and there was no sign of the 
approach of any relieving force, the Shah and his ministers determined 
to bring one of the royal princes out of the harem, proclaim him the Vali-‘ahd 
or Crown Prince, and then send him secretly through the enemy lines to 
Adharbaijan in order to collect an army with which he could march to the 
relief of the capital. Sultan Mahmud Mirza, the eldest son of Shah 
Sultan IJusain, was accordingly brought out from the harem, and was 
placed with much pomp and ceremony on the royal throne. Having 
always been kept in seclusion, the young prince became nervous and 
alarmed at seeing so many people and at being the object of so much 
attention ; as soon as the ceremony was over, he fled back to the andarun 
and refused to emerge from it again. In view of his behaviour, he was 
passed over in favour of Safi Mirza, the Shah’s second son, but he likewise 
proved unsuitable after he had been Crown Prince for a few days. The 
third son, Tahmasp Mirza by name, was therefore made Crown Prince 
in his stead. Tahmasp, who was then about 18 years of age, had had, 
of course, the same upbringing as his elder brothers, but, as he showed 


1 There is much divergence between the various authorities as to the strength of Mahmud’s 
forces. Both Mirza Mahdi and the much later historian Rida Quli Khan Hidavat ‘(in his 
continuation of the Raudatu'^af a, Vol. VIII) give the numbers of the Ghalzais as 8,000 ; 
Rida Quh Khan adds that Mahmud had a similar number of Baluch and Hazara tribesmen 
as amnhanes. Fasa’i, in the Fars-Nama-yi-Na$iri (Tehran, 1895), relates that some 
authorities give the numbers of the Afghans as 20,000, while others put them as high as 
40,000 ; lie does not specify these authorities by name. 



INTRODUCTORY 


9 

himself to be less timorous than they were, he was confirmed in his position. 
On the 27th Sha‘ban, 1134 (2nd June, 1722), Tahmasp, accompanied by 
200 Tabrizis, left the city secretly and succeeded in running the gauntlet 
through the Afghan lines, and reaching Qazvin. 1 On arriving at that 
town, the prince, instead of using every endeavour to raise troops promptly, 
gave himself up to pleasure, and wasted much valuable time in debauches. 2 
The result was that no serious effort was made to save the Shah and the 
capital. 

On the 22nd October, 1722, the beleaguered inhabitants of Isfahan 
had. come to their last gasp 3 ; on that day the Shah and his 
ministers rode out to the Afghan camp at Farahabad, on horses 
borrowed from Mahmud (all those in the city having been eaten), 4 
in order to surrender. The East India Company’s representatives re- 
ported 5 that the Shah rode forth from his palace “ without the least pomp 
or Regal Ornaments, Dressed like a Desponding and Miserable Man 
... he was attended with so Melancholy a Retinue, as made it appear 
a Solemn Obsequies (sic) to his Crown and Majesty, and so it proved.” 
On reaching Mahmud, the Shah divested himself of his jiqa or aigrette, 
the emblem of sovereignty, and with his own hands placed it on his con- 
queror’s head. Three days later Mahmud entered Isfahan in triumph, 
and was formally enthroned as Shah. 

When the news of these events reached Tahmasp at Qazvin, he pro- 
claimed himself Shah there on the 14th Safar, 1135 (24th Noember, 
1 72 2). 6 * 8 Although he had been made heir to the throne in the preceding 
June, it is very doubtful whether his claim to be regarded as Shah at this 
stage can be regarded as valid. In the first place, Mahmud had captured 
the capital and had conquered a far greater extent of territory than that 
over which Tahmasp held sway. Secondly, the crown had been formally 
conferred upon Mahmud by the ex-Shah. 


1 Muhammad Muhsin, Zubdatu’t-Tawarikh, fol. 210 (a) (as there will be frequent references to this 

work, the abbreviation Z.T. will henceforth be used in place of the full title). 

* Ibid., fol. 210 (a). Shaikh Muhammad ‘Ali Hazin, who was in general favourably inclined to the 

Safavis, confirms Muhammad Muhsin’ s remarks as to Jahmasg’s love of pleasure and neglect 
of duty ; see p. 132 of F. C. Belfour's translation of his Tadhkira. 

5 Several first-hand accounts of the horrors of this siege have been preserved. The Jesuit 
Krusinski, the Isfahan representatives of the English and Dutch East India Companies, 
Muhammad Muhsin and Shaikh Hazin all went through the siege, and have recorded their 
experiences. See (1) Krusinski, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 65-95, (2) Vol. XV of the India Office 
Records, Persia and the Persian Gulf Series, (3) H. Dunlop's Perzie (Haarlem, 19x2), pp. 
242-257, and his English translation of Friar Alexander’s account of the sack of the city, 
in the J.R.C.A.S., October, 1936, (4) Z.T., folio 207 (a) and 207 (b), and (5) Tadhkira, 
pp. 118-124. 

* Sir Harford Jones Brydges’s The Dynasty of the Kajars (translated by him from the Persian text 

of the Ma‘athir-i-$ultaniyya by ‘Abdu’r-Razzaq ibn Najaf Quli), (London, 1833), p. lxxvii. 

8 In a letter from Isfahan dated the 20th /31st October, 1722 (in Vol. XV of the India Office 
Records already referred to). 

* Z.T., fol. 2x0 (b). 



10 


NADIR SHAH 


As soon as Mahmud heard of Tahmasp’s proclamation, he sent a force 
against him, which defeated his modest army, and occupied Qazvin 
but the prince eluded the Afghans and escaped to Tabriz. The cruel 
behaviour of the Afghans at Qazvin provoked a rising of the inhabitants, 
who attacked their enemies with such spirit that they killed a large number 
of them and drove out the remainder in disorder. 1 When the fugitives 
reached Isfahan and reported to Mahmud what had occurred, he feared 
a similar outbreak there. As a preventive measure, he put to death several 
of the Safavi princes, and massacred 300 nobles and many of the ex-Shah’s 
former bodyguard. 

Whilst the siege of Isfahan was in progress, Peter the Great began 
his invasion. . He had not, it is said, 2 intended to launch his Persian 
campaign until the following year (1723), but the trend of events in 
Persia and the Caucasus, and, above all, the interference of Turkey in 
the affairs of Shirvan, roused him to swift action. One of the main 
points of Peter’s policy was that the Caspian was to be a Russian lake ; 
for this reason it was essential to prevent any strong power like Turkey 
from gaining access to its shores. 

Having embarked a strong force of cavalry and infantry, 8 Peter sailed 
from Astrakhan in July, 1722, and landed a few days later at Agrakhan 
Bay, a little to the north of Tarkhu. The expedition then marched south 
through Tarkhu (where Peter was greeted by the Shamkhal ‘Adil Girai) 
into Tabarsaran. There the Russians encountered and defeated the 
Qaraqaitaqs, under their chief the Usmi Ahmad Khan. 4 Alarmed by the 
Russian advance, the Ghazi Qumuq and Qaraqaitaq tribes sent messages 
to the Sultan asking to be placed under his protection. 5 Darband sur- 
rendered to Peter on the 3rd September, but he decided to advance no 
further that season. Leaving a strong garrison in Darband, Peter re- 
turned to Astrakhan. . On reaching that town, he received an appeal 
from the people of Gilan for assistance against the Ghalzai Afghans ; 
in response, he dispatched two battalions of troops to Enzeli® ; these 
men were later reinforced by others under the command of General 
Levashev. In Georgia Peter had succeeded in winning over to his side 

Vakhtang VI of Kartli, a brother of the ill-fated Kai Khusrau 
Khan. 7 

The news of Peter s invasion of Persia nearly caused war to break out 


1 T.N., p. 10. 

' Butkov, Vol. I, p 


10. 



VaMnisht, in Brossct s Htstoiyd let G&o?gie f Vol. II, Port I, p, uy 



INTRODUCTORY 


ii 


between Russia and Turkey. Hostilities were, however, averted by the 
efforts of Nepluiev, the able Russian Resident at Constantinople, who 
allayed the fears of the Turks in some measure by repeated assurances 
of Peter’s pacific intentions in so far as the Porte was concerned. In 
the spring of 1723, Turkey decided that it would be easier to prevent a 
further Russian advance into Persia by invading that country herself 
and so forestalling her rival, than it would by invading Russia. The Porte 
therefore declared war on Tahmasp, and the Turkish l ulama thereupon 
issued strongly worded fatwas enjoining the faithful to fight against the 
heretical Persians. The Turks first attacked in the north-west ; marching 
through Georgia, they seized Tiflis in June. On learning of this invasion, 
Tahmasp, acting on Avramov’s advice, 1 sent his chief minister, Isma'il 
Beg by name, to Russia in order to negotiate a treaty of alliance. Whilst 
the Persian envoy was on his way, the Russian general Matiushkin captured 
Baku. 2 * Isma'il Beg nevertheless went on to Moscow and began the 
negotiations. On the 23rd September, 1723, the treaty was signed ; 
Russia undertook to assist Tahmasp to pacify his country and to punish 
the rebels, while Tahmasp, in return for this assistance, agreed to cede 
to Russia the towns of Darband and Baku, with their adjoining districts, 
and the three coastal provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Astarabad. 
Lastly, each power was to regard as friends and enemies respectively the 
friends and enemies of the other. 8 Tahmasp, at the time when he dis- 
patched Isma'il Beg to Russia, also sent an envoy to Constantinople, 
The Porte informed this envoy that, as Darband and Baku had been seized 
by the Russians and as Isfahan had been taken by the Afghans, it was 
sending troops to occupy Tabriz and Erivan before these places could be 
occupied by Persia’s foes ; if, it continued, Tahmasp would cede Georgia 
and Adharbaijan to Turkey, the Sultan would recognise him as Shah and 
give him military assistance. 4 The Persian envoy, however, was not 
empowered to agree to such terms. 

Meanwhile, the Russian capture of Baku had brought about another 
serious crisis between Russia and Turkey, which became even graver 
when the news reached Constantinople of the conclusion of the treaty 
of the 23rd September. War was only averted by the active mediation 
of the Marquis de Bonnac, the extremely capable French Ambassador 
to the Porte, who used every endeavour to restrain the Turks on the one- 
hand and Nepluiev on the other (it was at that time the policy of France 
to prevent Turkey from embroiling herself with an important Power 


1 Butkov, Vol. I, p. 41. 

' Soloviev, Vol. XVIII, p. 50. 

* La Mamye-Clairac, Vol. Ill, pp. 398 and 399. 

' Von Hammer, Vol. XIV, p. 99. 



12 


NADIR SHAH 


like Russia, because she felt that a strong Turkey would be an effective 
deterrent against Austrian aggression in the west). 1 

Not content with their occupation of Georgia, the Turks also invaded 
Persia much further to the south, where the aged Hasan Pasha, the well- 
known Governor of Baghdad, following the route so often taken by pre- 
vious invaders, captured Kirmanshah. Hasan Pasha halted at Kirmanshah 
for the winter, intending to advance to Hamadan in the spring. Death, 
however, claimed the old man early in 1724, but his plan was carried out 
by his still more capable son Ahmad, who succeeded him as Pasha of 
Baghdad and as commander of the Turkish troops on that front. 

During the first few months of 1724 de Bonnac exerted all his diplomatic 
skill to bring about a rapprochement between Turkey and Russia. Despite 
most formidable obstacles, he managed to induce both sides to moderate 
their attitudes to such an extent that, on the 24th June, 1724, the two 
Powers signed a treaty which divided all northern and most of western 
Persia between them. In the preamble to the treaty was a brief reference 
to the cession to Russia of Persia’s Caspian provinces under the terms 
of the Russo-Persian treaty of the previous year (which, however, Tahmasp 
had refused to ratify). In the treaty itself it was agreed that the frontier 
between Russia and Turkey should run southward through Daghistan 
and Shirvan, parallel to the coast and at a distance of 22 hours’ ride from 
it, to a point east of Shamakhi, whence it went on to the point where the 
Kura and Araxes join one another. At the confluence of the two rivers 
the Turco-Persian frontier began ; running due south to a point slightly 
to the west of Ardabil, it continued almost in the same straight line to 
Hamadan ; from there it turned south-west to Kirmanshah. Both 
Russia and Turkey agreed to recognise Tahmasp as Shah and to assist 
him to restore order in his realm, provided that he, for his part, accepted 
the treaty. 2 

As von Hammer has rightly observed, 3 the line of demarcation laid 
down by this treaty, which cut across all the provinces and followed no 
boundaries formed by rivers or mountains, was no more natural than the 
treaty itself was legitimate. 

1 Much, might be written regarding the intricate history of Russo-Turco-Persian relations during 
this period, but nothing more than a summary can be given here. The principal authorities 
are : — 

(1) de Bonnac’s Mimoire Historique sur I’Ambassade de France it Constantinople (Paris, 1894), 

(2) the State Papers at the Public Record Office (S.P. 97. Vol. XXV), (3) La Mamye-Clairac, 
(4) von Hammer, (5) Soloviev, and (6) Saint Priest’s Mimoires sur I’Ambassade de France 
en Turquie et sur le Commerce des Franpais dans le Levant (Paris, 1877). 

The subject has been dealt with at some length in Dr. Mohammad Ali Hekmat’s Essai sur 
I'Histoire des Relations Politiques Irano-Ottomanes de 1722 d 1747 (Paris, 1937), which has 
been published since the above was written. 

* Butkov, Vol. I, p. 58 ; La Mamye-Clairac, Vol. II, p. 194. 

* Von Hammer (Dochez’s translation, Paris, 1844), Vol. Ill, pp. 400 and 401. 



INTRODUCTORY 


Khoi had fallen to the Turks before the treaty was concluded ; after- 
wards, as Tahmasp showed no disposition to agree to the terms on which 
he was offered assistance, the Turks continued their advance. Ahmad 
Pasha, as stated above, marched on Hamadan, which he took after it had 
stubbornly resisted for over two months, and the Turkish forces operating 
in the north-west captured Nakhichevan and Erivan. An assault on 
Tabriz was, however, repulsed. In the following year (1725) the Turks, 
after taking Ganja, made a second, and this time a successftil, attack on 
Tabriz. When Tabriz was threatened by the Turks, Tahmasp fled to 
Ardabil, but a Turkish advance on that place forced him to continue his 
flight to Qazvin and then to Tehran. The luckless prince was allowed 
but little breathing space even at Tehran, for he was soon to be threatened 
by a new enemy. 

Whereas Russia had been quick to move at the outset of her Persian 
campaigns, Turkey had been the reverse. Later, however, when the Turks 
had got into their stride and were winning success after success, Russia 
became less and less active. The reason for the northern Power’s lack of 
energy and enterprise was the death of Peter the Great, which occurred 
on the 8th February, 1725. Deprived of his genius and driving power, 
Russia ceased to be aggressive in Persia, although she remained for some 
time to come determined to retain the territory which he had won for 
her. 

While Russia and Turkey were dismembering Persia in the north and 
west, Mahmud was extending his conquests in the south. To add to the 
distractions of Persia, an imposter belonging to the Karrani tribe who 
claimed to be Safi Mirza, the second son of the ex-Shah, appeared in the 
Bakhtiari country towards the close of 1724 and gathered together a 
number of adherents 1 : it was not until three years later that he was defeated 
and slain. It is possible that the news of the appearance of this sup- 
posititious Safi Mirza may have been responsible for a terrible tragedy 
which occurred at Isfahan. Having heard a rumour that the real Safi 
Mirza had escaped from captivity, Mahmud, without waiting to verify 
the report, on the 7th February, 1725, slaughtered all the surviving 
male members of the Safavi royal family who were in his power, with 
the exception of the ex-Shah and two young princes. 

Mahmud had been subject to attacks of melancholia for some time 
past, and had become intensely suspicious of those around him. His 
cousin Ashraf, the son of ‘AbduVAziz, was a capable military leader and 
had made himself very popular with the Afghan soldiery. Mahmud, 

1 T.N., p. 14. Mirza Mahdi gives particulars of six of these pretenders who appeared at different 
times. According to Shaikh Hazin (op. dt., p. 135), there were no fewer than eighteen of 
them in all. 



NADIR SHAH 


14 

fearing lest Ashraf’s popularity might lead him to revolt, threw him into 
prison. After the slaughter of the Safavi princes, Mahmud’s mind be- 
came quite unhinged ; physically, too, he degenerated rapidly, being 
afflicted with paralysis 1 or, according to some sources, with leprosy. 2 

His dreadful condition led to a conspiracy amongst the Afghans, who 
released Ashraf and asked him to become Shah in place of his cousin. 
Ashraf, nothing loth, agreed, and avenged the murder of his father and 
secured the throne of Persia for himself by beheading Mafrmud on the 
22nd April, 1 725’. One of Ashraf s first acts after his accession was to 
put to death those persons who had been Mahmud’s chief supporters. 
He is said to have then offered the crown to the ex-Shah Sultan Husain, 
knowing full well that he would refuse it. Ashraf then endeavoured to 
inveigle Tahmasp into a trap by inviting him to meet him at some point 
between Quin and Tehran (where Tahmasp -then was) and suggesting 
that both should be accompanied by only a few followers ; Ashraf, of 
course, had no intention of observing this condition. Luckily for Tahmasp, 
some of his well-wishers at Isfahan warned him of Ashraf’s real intentions. 

When Ashraf realised that his plan had miscarried, he set out with a 
strong force for Tehran. At Shah ‘Abdu’l-‘Azim, six miles to the south 
of that place, he took Tahmasp’s troops by surprise, and routed them ; 
he then went on to Tehran, which he invested, but he did not advance 
quickly enough to prevent Tahmasp from escaping. Accompanied by 
only a few followers, the prince fled to Mazandaran. It appears that he 
escaped from Tehran about the 10th December, 1725. 

After wandering through the Mazandaran forests for some time, 
Tahmasp came at length to the town of Sari, where he received an un- 
expected accretion of strength. Fath ‘Ali Khan Qajar, of Astarabad, of 
whom mention has already been made, 3 joined the prince there with 
2,000 men. 

The part played by Fath ‘Ali Khan during the period from 1722 to 
1725 is the subject of some controversy. The historians of the Qajar 
period, such as ‘Abdu’r-Razzaq, Rida Quli Khan Hidayat,and Muhammad 
Taqi (otherwise known by his title of Lisanu’l-Mulk and by his takhallus 
or pen-name of Sipihr) sought, as was not unnatural, to portray his char- 
acter in as favourable manner as they could. 4 According to them, Fath 
‘Ali Khan attempted to aid Shah Sultan Husain during the siege of Isfahan, 
but, on being falsely charged by the jealous ministers with aiming at the 

1 T.N., p. 10. 

1 Krusinski, Vol. II, p. 302. 

* See above, p. 6, note 6. 

* Fath. ‘Ali Khan was the father of Muhammad Hasan Khan, one of whose sons was Agha 

Muhammad Shah, the first Qajar monarch ; he was the great-grandfather (through another 
grandson) of Fatfc ‘Ali Shah. 



INTRODUCTORY 


n 
* 

throne, he left Isfahan in disgust and retired to Astarabad. 1 This story, 
which is improbable, is not corroborated by the principal contemporary 
authorities. 

It seems that when Tahmasp was at Tehran towards the close of 1725, 
either he 2 * or the people of Ray 8 appealed to Fath ‘Ali Khan to assist them 
against the Afghans. The Qajar chief responded, and fought an indecisive 
action with the enemy near Varamin ; he then advanced in the direction 
of Tehran, but he arrived too late to make contact with Tahmasp or to 
prevent the Ghalzais from taking the town. He thereupon retreated 
eastwards, and eventually joined Tahmasp at Sari, as already related. 
According to Muhammad Muhsin 4 (whose testimony regarding Fath 
‘Ali Khan is not free from bias), he had been in active revolt during the 
winter of 1725-6 ; after sacking Damghan, he entered Mazandaran, 
where he defeated a body of Tahmasp’s supporters. He then advanced 
to Sari, where he and some other Qajar chiefs went to Tahmasp “ with 
swords in their belts and Qur’ans in their hands,” saying that the prince’s 
generals had been unworthy, as they had abandoned their country to the 
enemy. Fath ‘Ali Khan then craved forgiveness for his previous behaviour, 
and offered his services and those of his men. The truth of the matter 
probably is that Fatli ‘Ali Khan, if not in actual revolt, had been for a 
long time quite independent of Tahmasp, owing to his distance from the 
prince and the disturbed state of the country. 

While loyalty may have influenced Fath ‘Ali Khan to some extent in 
arriving at his decision to join Tahmasp, it seems probable that self-interest 
and the instinct for self-preservation were additional motives. He had 
only 2,000 followers, while Malik Mahmud Sistani (who had, in 1723, 
taken advantage of the chaotic state of Khurasan to seize Mashhad and 
had set himself up there as an independent ruler) 5 was vastly more powerful. 
Although Tahmasp’s forces were negligible in point of numbers, his 
position as the sole surviving son of the ex-Shah made him the only possible 
rallying point for all those of his countrymen who remained loyal to the 
Safavi line. 6 * Fathi ‘Ali Khan, who was a man of much greater intelligence 
and foresight than Tahmasp, doubtless realised the value, from this point 
of view, of an association with the prince. He must have known that, 
with his much stronger personality, he could soon gain an ascendency 


1 See, for example, the Raudatu's-Safa, Vol. VIII (as the pages of the lithographed edition are 

unnumbered, no precise reference can be given). 

a Fars-Nama, p. 163. 

8 Muhammad Taqi’s Nasikhu't-T awarikh, p. 8. 

* Z.T., fol. 211 (b). . . ^ ^ 

» For MaiiTr Mahmud's rise to power, his capture of Mashhad in 1723, his defeat of Tahmasp s 

general, Rida Quli Khan, see the Z.T., fol. 220 (a)-223 (a) and Vol. II, p. 337. of the 
Matla'u’ sh-Shams by Muhammad Hasan Khan (Sani 'u' d-Danla). 

• They could hardly rally to the ex-Shah, because he was a prisoner in the hands of Ashraf. 



1 6 


NADIR SHAH 


over the prince, and so become in due course the real head of affairs. 
To a man of discernment like FatJh ‘Ali Khan, there were at last signs of 
improvement in Tahmasp ’s situation, or rather of deterioration in that of 
his foes. In March, 1726, Ashrafs arrogant pretensions had involved 
him in a war with Turkey. 1 Owing to this war, neither the Turks nor the 
Ghalzais would be able to pay much, if any, attention to Tahmasp for 
some time, and its effects would weaken both the combatant sides, par- 
ticularly the Ghalzais. Ashraf could ill afford to lose men, as he was 
ruling by force of arms a people who greatly outnumbered his army and 
who detested the Ghalzais on both racial and religious grounds. More- 
over, his murder of Mahmud had occasioned a feud between him and 
Husain, Mahmud’s brother, who had made himself supreme at Qandahar ; 
as a result, he could expect no reinforcements from that quarter. Russia 
had, as has already been stated, been much less aggressive since the death 
of Peter the Great, and, although she and Turkey had concluded the 
Partition Treaty, there was much jealousy and mistrust between the two 
Powers. The Abdalis, it was true, remained unsubdued, but they had 
been weakened by internal dissensions, and were not likely to take any 
offensive action for some time. Lastly, there was Malik Mahmud, 
but he was less formidable than the others, and would be unable to resist 
any popular movement on a big scale in favour of the Safavi claimant. 

In company with his new supporter, Tahmasp proceeded to Astarabad, 
where efforts were made to obtain reinforcements. Tahmasp rewarded 
Fath ‘Ali Khan for his services with the title of Wakilu' d-Daula (“ Regent 
of the State ”), and a number of other Qajar chiefs were given posts, 
all of which were necessarily little more than sinecures at the time, 2 Fath 
‘Ali Khan then persuaded Tahmasp to march against Malik Mahmud, 
hoping to collect reinforcements en route ; with this object, he and the 
prince set out via Khabushan for Mashhad. 

As Fath ‘Ali Khan started on this expedition, he no doubt felt that, 
notwithstanding all the obstacles that would have to be surmounted, he 
was the man who would be able to take advantage of the disunion in the 
ranks of his country’s enemies to effect her deliverance. He was not, 
however, destined to play this part, because it was shortly to be filched 
from him by a rival. 


1 Von Hammer, Vol. XIV, pp. 145 and 146. 


*Z.T., fol. 211 (b). 



CHAPTER II 


Nadir’s Origin and Early Career 

When inquiring into the early history of tribes in Persia and Central 
Asia, it is sometimes extremely difficult, if not impossible, to determine 
whether a given tribe is of Turkish or of Mongol origin. There is an 
element of doubt in the case of Nadir’s own tribe, the Afshars, but the 
evidence in support of the contention that they are of Turkish origin 
seems reasonably strong. The historian Rashidu’d-Din Fadlullah des- 
cribed the Afshars as “ Turkish peoples dwelling in the plains,” and said 
that Awshar (or Awushar), the eponymous founder of the tribe, fought 
on the right wing of the army of his grandfather Oghuz, the legendary 
ancestor of the Turks. 1 Abu’l-Ghazi stated that the word Awshar 
(from which Afshar is derived) meant “ one who promptly finishes an 
affair.” 2 

The Afshars are believed to have been driven westwards from Central 
Asia by reason of the advance of the Mongols in the XHIth century a.d., 
and to have settled first in Adharbaijan ; they afterwards became widely 
disseminated in Persia. 8 Shah Isma'il I recruited his formidable army 
mainly from the Afshars and from six other Turkish (or Turco-Mongol) 
tribes, namely, the Shamlu, Rumlu, Ustajlu, Takallu, Dhu’l-Qadar and 
Qajar. One of the commanders of Shah Tahmasp I was Khalil Beg 
Afshar, who was chief of 10,000 families of his tribe and was Governor 
of the province of Kuhgilu. 

Mirza Mahdi stated 4 that the Qiriqlu or Qirikhlu (“ Forty Peoples ”) 
branch of the tribe, to which Nadir belonged, had migrated to Khurasan in 
the time of Shah Isma‘il I (15-02-1524 a.d.), and that they had made their 
yailaq or summer camping ground by some springs known as Mayab 
Kubkan, just south of the Allahu Akbar range. Sayyid Ahmad Aqa 
Tabrizi says, however, that Shah ‘Abbas I moved the Qiriqlu Afshars 
and the Chamishgazak Kurds to that district, in order to oust the Ozbegs 

1 Jami'u’t-Tawarikh : see the Sbornik Lyetopisei, edited by N. Berezin (St. Petersburg, 1861), 
Vol. VII, p. 7. While the first statement may be regarded as accurate, the second _ is, of 
course, of no historical value. As to the alleged Mongol origin of the Afshars, see B. Nikitine's 
Les Afsars d’Urumiyeh, in the Journal Asiaiique, January-March, 1929. 

* Shajarat-i-Twh (Turkish text), edited by Desmaisons (St. Petersburg, 1874), Vol. II, p. 28. 

* See the interesting articles on the Afshars by Sayyid Ahmad Aqa Tabrizi, in the Tehran periodical 

Ayanda, No. IV, 1304 (1926), No. IX, 1305 (1927), and Part II, No. VIII, 1306 (1928). 
Dr. M. Afshar, of Tehran, was kind enough to send me the above-mentioned copies of the 
Ayanda. 

* T.N., p. 17. 

17 C 



i8 


NADIR SHAH 


therefrom. 1 However that may be, it seems that there were Afshars 
in Khurasan from, at any rate, the beginning of the XVI century a.d., 
for Khwandamir 2 speaks of a certain Shahrukh Beg Afshar Yajuji being 
sent from Herat in 920 a. h. (15 1 4-1 $ 15 a.d.) to the province of Qandahar, 
in order to subdue a rebel named Shuja‘ Beg there. There seems to be 
no means of ascertaining whether there was any connection between the 
Yajuji 3 and the Qiriqlu Afshars. 

As the village of Kubkan 4 was situated in the yailaq or summer grazing 
ground of the tribe, and was therefore very cold in winter, the Qiriqlu 
Afshars were in the habit, every autumn, of crossing the Allahu Akbar 
range to the north and going down to the lower-lying and, therefore, 
warmer qishlaq or winter grazing ground in the district of Darragaz. 6 
In November, 1688, the habitual migration from Kubkan to the qishlaq 
took place. Among the migrating tribespeople were a poor peasant 
named Imam Quli Beg and his wife ; when they had crossed the mountains 
and had reached the village of Dastgird (or Dastajird),® in Darragaz, the 
wife gave birth to a son, the future Nadir Shah. This son was named 
Nadr Quli Beg, after Imam Quli Beg’s father. 7 Mirza Mahdi gives the 
date of Nadir’s birth as the 28th Muharram 1 100 a.h. 8 (22nd November, 
1688). ‘Abdu’l-Karim Kashmiri, the author of the Bayan-i-JJ/aqi\ 
states that some (unspecified) persons gave the year of Nadir’s birth as 
1099, while others gave it as 1102 a.h.® Mirza Mahdi’s date, though 

J Sayyid Ahmad Aqa Tabrizi, in the Ayanda, Part II, No. VIII, p. 601. 

8 fJabibu’s-Siyar, Vol. Ill, Part IV, p. 75. 

8 It is possible that the epithet “ Yajuji ” (i.e., “ of Gog ”) may have been applicable only to 
Shahrukh Beg himself. 

* The village of Kubkan, which is still in existence, is 80 miles N.W. of Mas hhad and 50 miles 

E.N.E. of Khabushan. Sir Percy Sykes, who has visited the place, described it in his 
Seventh Journey in Persia (Geographical Journal, May, 1915, p. 364) as being “ a picturesque 
village situated on the slope of a deserted fort which had had a covered way to the river." 

8 The Turki terms for these tribal movements from summer to winter grazing grounds vice 
versa are qishlamishi and yailamishi respectively. 

* Dastgird is 16 miles N.E. of Kubkan and 3 miles S.E. of Muhammadabad. 

7 The MSS. of the Ta’rikh-i-Nadiri, Zubdatu't-Tawarikh, Bayan-i-Waqi' , etc., which I have 

consulted, all give the name as Nadr Quli (Shaikh Hazin gives the form Nadhr Quli, but this 
seems to be an error). There therefore seems to be no doubt that this was Nadir’s original 
name, but he used, at times, to call himself Nadir (with a long " a ’’) ‘Ali, e.g., in his waqj- 
nama or deed of bequest relating to his tomb at Mashhad and in the inscription on the gilt 
portico of the shrine of the Imam Rida in that city (see the Matla'u’sh-Shams, Vol. II, 
p. 20). In the waqf-nama (of which Professor Naficy, of Tehran, has been kind enough to 
send me a copy) Nadir’s name and titles are given as follows Nadir 'Ali Khan Vali-yi- 
mamalik-i-Khurasan va farman-rava’i-yi-'arsa-yi-Iran, that is, Nadir ‘Ali Khan, Governor 
of the regions of Khurasan and ruler (literally, “ order-giver ’’) of the land of Persia ; the 
deed was drawn up on the 1st Muharram, x 145 (24th June, 1732). The "Golden Gate" was not 
constructed until after Nadir’s coronation (on which occasion, it is to be noted, he took the 
title of Nadir Shah). For the sake of simplicity, I have used the form " Nadir ’’ throughout 
the book ; it would otherwise have been necessary to employ, at different times, a number 
of names and titles, such as Nadr Quli, Nadir ‘Ali, Tahmasp Quli Khan, Vali Ni'mat, etc., 
which would be most confusing. 

8 T.N., p. 17. 

* Bayan, fol. 101 (b). 



NORTHERN KHURASAN 




20 


NADIR SHAH 


it may not be absolutely correct, is doubtless less inexact than the others 
mentioned, but his statement that Nadir was born “ in the castle of 
Dastgird ” is certainly a fabrication designed to flatter and exalt his patron 
and sovereign. In all probability, Nadir was born in a tent ; he afterwards 
erected a maulud-khana or “birthplace-house” on the site, which was 
situated just outside Dastgird. 

Little is known of Imam Quli Beg, beyond the fact that he was poor and 
did not occupy any position of importance. He is variously described 
as having been a shepherd, skinner, agriculturalist or camel-driver. 1 
The humble position of Nadir’s parents is obvious from Mirza Mahdi’s 
tactfully worded statements that a sharp sword owes it excellence to its 
temper rather than to the iron mine whence its raw material was taken, 
and that a royal jewel derives its beauty from its water and colour rather 
than from the ore (sulb) in which it was found. 2 * Nadir himself, though 
he always took pride in his Turkish or Turkoman blood and thereby 
claimed affinity with the descendants of Timur, never sought to magnify 
the status of his parents and ancestors. He was wont to say that he 
was “ the son of the sword.” 8 

Persian and European sources alike contain but little information 
regarding Nadir’s early years. It is to be presumed that he accompanied 
his parents on their annual movements between Kubkan and the district 
of Darragaz, and that, as soon as he grew old enough, he assisted his 
father to earn his scanty livelihood. Mirza Mahdi passes over this period 
in silence, merely saying that he “ placed his foot upon the ladder of 
manhood,” 4 when he reached the age of 15. Hanway relates 5 that the 
Ozbegs made a raid into Khurasan in 1704, killing many persons and 
carrying off a number of others as slaves. Amongst the latter were, he says, 
Nadir and his mother ; while Nadir escaped in 1708, his mother died 
in captivity. This incident is not mentioned by any Persian authority, 
and its authenticity is extremely dubious. 6 The statement by William 
Cocked 7 that Nadir’s father was not only chief of a clan of the Afshars, 
but was also in command of the fortress of Kalat is, like his story of Nadir’s 
dispossession of his heritage by his uncle, devoid of fact. It can be re- 


1 See respectively, Bazin ( Lettres Edifiantes, Vol. IV, p. 279), Fasa’i's Fars-Nama~yi-Nasiri, p. 164, 
Raudatu' s-Safa, Vol. VIII, Bayan, fol. xoi (b). 

* T.N., p. 16. 

* Cf. Nadir’s famous remark at Delhi -when questioned as to the lineage of his son Nasrullah. 

(Mention will be made in due course as to the circumstances which gave rise to this remark.) 

* T.N., p. 17. 

‘Vol. IV, p. 4. 

* See Dr. Cook, Voyages and Travels, Vol. II, p. 447. 

1 See James Fraser’s Nadir Shah, p. 72. As will be explained in the bibliographical appendix 
at the end of this book, Fraser included in his work an “ Account of Nadir Shah’s first exploits'* 
by Cockell (whom he did not, however, mention by name). 




Reproduced by kind permission of Sir Percy Sykes and Messrs , Macmillan 



NADIR’S ORIGIN AND EARLY CAREER 


21 


garded as certain that, had any of his relatives occupied a position of 
importance, the fact would have been stressed by Mirza Mahdi. 

When Nadir was still a youth, he took the step that was destined to 
lead him to higher things. Being unwilling to follow permanently the 
humble vocation of his father, he entered the service of Baba ‘Ali Beg 
Kusa Ahmadlu who was chief of the Afshars of the town of Abivard and 
was Dabit or Governor of that place. By dint of his ability and bravery, 
he speedily attracted the favourable notice of his master, and rose in time 
to be not only the commander of his guards, but also his son-in-law. 1 
The Indian authority, ‘Abdu’l-Karim Kashmiri, states, possibly correctly, 
that Baba ‘Ali Beg, after the death of Imam Quli Beg, married his widow, 
who was Nadir's step-mother. Being struck with the intelligence of 
the youthful Nadir, Baba ‘Ali Beg gave him one of his daughters in 
marriage, thus providing him with his real start in .life, 2 

On the 25th Jumadi I, 113 1 (15th April, 1719), Rida Quli, Nadir’s 
eldest son, was born. A few years later his wife died ; soon afterwards, 
he married another of Baba ‘Ali Beg’s daughters, Gauhar Shad 3 by name, 
who bore him two sons, Nasrullah and Imam Quli. According to 
Muhammad Kazim of Merv, 4 Nadir called his second son Murtada Quli, 
but he changed this name to Nasrullah (meaning the “ victory of Allah ”) 
after he had gained the battle of Karnal in 1739. The employment of , 
characteristically Shi ‘a names like Rida Quli, Imam Quli (for Nadir’s 
father and his third son) and Murtada Quli suggests that his family was 
Shi‘a and that he himself belonged to that sect when he was young; 
it has always been asserted hitherto that Nadir was bom and brought up 
a Sunni, but there does not appear to be any definite proof that this was so. 

The history of the next few years is obscure, and many improbable 
stories are recorded. It appears that Baba ‘Ali Beg died in I 7 2 3 > 
and that he left his property to Nadir ; Sir John Malcolm’s statement 5 
that Nadir murdered his father-in-law seems most improbable. For one 
thing, such an act would have led to a family feud. It is a well-established 
fact that Baba ‘Ali Beg’s three sons all entered Nadir's service, in which 
they attained eminent positions ; had there been a feud, this could hardly 
have happened. _ 

Owing to tribal opposition, Nadir was unable to succeed to his 
late father-in-law’s position as chief of the Afshars of Abivard. After 


Rau#atu's-$afa, Vol. VIII. . . , .. . „ ... . aA 

Hay an, fol. 5 (a), 'Abdul* Karim, as will be explained in the bibliographical appendix, h 
exceptional opportunities of obtaining from Nadir’s old companions in arms particul 

of their leader's earlier career. t 

.Mirza Mahdi mentions towards the end of the T.N. (p. 246) that Gauhar Shad was them 

Na§rullah and Imam Quli. 

Kitab-i-Nadiri, p. 430. 

The History of Persia, Vol. II, p. 47. 



22 


NADIR SHAH 


occupying himself for a time with the management of his properties, 
he went to Mashhad and entered the service of Malik Mahmud. Mirza 
Mahdi gives a most highly coloured and improbable account of Nadir’s 
actions at this time, stating that, after he had become aware of the extent 
of the troubles with which the peoples of Persia were afflicted, he received 
a divine inspiration that he was to act as their deliverer . 1 Choosing 
Kalat, which “ was a strong castle and a fortress created by God,” as his 
headquarters, he collected the Afshars, Kurds and other tribes of the neigh- 
bourhood with the object of freeing Persia from her foes. Soon afterwards, 
however, the Afshars and Kurds, owing to “ the whisperings of Satan ,” 2 
deserted him, some joining Malik Mahmud and others remaining aloof. 
Nevertheless, three to four hundred families of the Jalayir tribe, 'under 
Tahmasp Khan Wakil , 8 joined Nadir and remained faithful to him. He 
then went to Mashhad and entered into relations with Malik Mahmud 
with a view to deceiving him and then bringing about his overthrow. 
It seems much more probable that Nadir, instead of being inspired by 
patriotic motives at this early stage, really wished to seek advancement 
in another sphere, as his further progress in the Abivard district was 
rendered impossible by local jealousy and opposition. 

Nadir found two Afshar chiefs at Mashhad who, at first, were hostile 
to him. He won them over and, it is said, plotted with them to expel 
Malik Mahmud . 4 It was agreed that the Afshar and Jalayir tribesmen 
who were friendly to Nadir should be in readiness for action “ on the day 
of the Jarid ,” 6 when he would, while competing in the sport with 
Malik Mahmud, seize the bridle of the latter’s horse. This action was 
to be the signal for the Afshars and Jalayir to rush up and kill Malik 
Mahmud and his followers. The plan miscarried, however, because 
Nadir, at the critical moment, failed to grasp the bridle of Malik Mahmud’s 
Malik Mahmud appeared to suspect nothing, and he, in company 
with Nadir and the others, returned to Mashhad. Nadir, having reason 
to suspect that the two Afshar chiefs were not being faithful to him, 
murdered them both when on a hunting expedition. Fearing retribution 
from Malik Mahmud, he then fled to Abivard, where he endeavoured 
to raise a force with which to oppose him . 8 


T.N., p. 18 . 

This is an allusion to Sura CXIV of the Qur’an. 

He is often called Tahmasp Khan Jalavir. 

T.N., p. 20 . 

F ° r «;lw eS ^ rip r t i 0n ° f th& game of the 3 arid ' see M> von Oppenheim’s DasDjerid und das Dierid- 

P.P- 590:617; the reference to the « Giuoch'i di Canne^' in Sh 
S h L' aV S J n P f £ 8 (Londo11 ' P- 50 ) is likewise of interest. See also 

L ga ™ M played in Baluchistan {Travels inBdccchisian 

r '^Ssto ““ MaMi ' S v5Iy of a*at ha says 



NADIR’S ORIGIN AND EARLY CAREER 23 

Some horsemen, amongst them a certain Nasir Aqa, responded to Nadir’s 
appeal, and formed a band under his leadership which proceeded to pillage 
and raid in Khurasan. 1 The only determined opposition that this band met 
with in those anarchical times was from Malik Mahmud and his partisans. 

Malik Mahmud, having summoned in vain the Chamishgazak Kurds 
of Khabushan to co-operate with him against Nadir, attacked them. Nadir 
marched to their assistance and forced Malik Mahmud to retire ; having 
no artillery, Nadir and his allies were unable to follow up this success 
by pursuing the enemy and laying siege to Mashhad. He then adopted 
the less onerous task of reducing several hostile tribal fastnesses in the 
Darragaz district and in the neighbourhood of Abivard. 

It was at this juncture that Tahmasp, although quite unable to oust the 
Ghalzai usurper Mahmud from Isfahan, sent his general Rida Quli 
Khan 2 * to attack Malik Mahmud. According to Mirza Mahdi, 
Rida Quli Khan, having heard of Nadir’s prowess as a military leader, 
wished to co-operate with him, but was dissuaded from doing so by some 
of the Kurds of Khabushan, who alleged that if he did so, and the opera- 
tions were successful, Nadir would reap all the advantage and then dis- 
credit him. 8 Rida Quli Khan then twice attacked Malik Mahmud, but 
was unsuccessful on each occasion. 4 In consequence of his failure, he 
was replaced by another Safavi general, Muhammad Khan Turkoman. 

Encouraged by his defeat of Rida Quli Khan, Malik Mahmud deter- 
mined to add Nishapur to his domains ; after an unsuccessful attempt by 
his nephew, he seized the place, despite efforts by Nadir and his brother 
Ibraham to prevent him. 5 * * Subsequently, Malik Mahmud severely defeated 
Nadir, who is said to have reached Kalat accompanied by only two men. 8 

Muhammad Khan Turkoman, Rida Quli Khan’s successor, reached 
Khurasan at this stage, and, acting in conjunction with Nadir, defeated 
Malik Mahmud outside Mashhad. Nadir was unable to follow up this 
victory, because of a Turkoman rising at Baghdad, to the north-east of 
Abivard. Having punished the Turkomans of Baghdad, he went to Merv, 
and later to Sarakhs, where he defeated Malik Mahmud’s adherents. 

Nadir was next engaged in hostilities with a kinsman of his named 
‘Ashur Beg Babalu, who was allied with some of the Chamishgazak Kurds. 


1 Mirza Mahdi naturally makes no mention of these activities of Nadir’s, but from what 'Abdu’l- 

Karim, Bazin and other authorities have stated, there seems to be no doubt that he was 

for a time leader of a band of robbers. See also Hanway, Vol. I, p. 171 (Hanway met Nasir 

Aqa at Astarabad on several occasions in December, 1743 and January, 1744). 

* See note 5 on page 15 above. Rida Quli Khan Shamlu had been Eshik-aghasi or “ master of 

the threshold ” at the court of Shah Sultan Husain (see Muhammad Muhsin, fol. 209 (a) ) : 

he was a maternal uncle of Luff ‘Ali Beg, the author of the Atash-Kada. 



24 NADIR SHAH 

Whilst he was besieging ‘Ashur Beg in his fortress of Qurghan, he received 
an addition to his forces of 500 Ozbeg youths, whom Shir Ghazi of Khi va 
had sent to his assistance. 1 Much about the same time, that is, early in 
1726, Tahmasp, having heard reports of Nadir’s prowess, sent Hasan 
‘Ali Beg, the Mu'ayyiru’l-Mamalik (literally, the “ assayer of the "king- 
doms ”), to report upon him. Hasan ‘Ali Beg was evidently favourably 
impressed with Nadir, for he (acting on Tahmasp ’s behalf) appointed 
him Deputy Governor of Abivard. 2 According to Mirza Mahdi, Nadir, 
when Jlasan ‘Ali Beg left him to return to Tahmasp, urged him to induce 
the prince to come to Khurasan with his army. 3 

After an expedition to Merv, where trouble had broken out between 
the local Qajars and the Turkomans, Nadir once more set out against 
Malik Mahmud. However, when he was nearing Mashhad, Hasan 
Ali Beg returned from Astarabad with a message from Tahmasp that 
he was on his way from that place and that he desired to see Nadir. 4 
Nadir accordingly abandoned his march on Mashhad and turned west- 
wards towards Khabushan. 

In the meantime Malik Mahmud, having heard that Tahmasp had left 
Astarabad for Khurasan, thought that he would take advantage of Nadir’s 
absence at Merv to set out and annihilate the prince’s forces before Nadir 
could return. Malik Mahmud, however, hurriedly returned to his capital 
on learning that Nadir was advancing on it from Merv. 5 

A day or two after Tahmasp and Fath ‘Ali Khan had reached Khabushan, 
Nadir marched into that town at the head of a force of 2,000 Kurds and 
Afshars. 6 


' r ‘ to?t^ugIfea?of ^Malf k d MaS. beei1 *° bUt ^ de ° idCd t0 j ° in forces with 

2 Z.T., fol. 212 (a). 



CHAPTER III 


Early Relations between Nadir and Tahmasp : 

IHE Capture of Mashhad and Minor Campaigns, 
1726-1729 

Nadir’s adhesion to the cause of the prince was a matter of some conse- 
quence to the latter, but to Nadir himself it was of even greater moment 

flcai feme Tt tA ° Pp0rtUmt) ' '? * ch,evl "? something more than merely 
:°Jt ^ . lt ls . th , P ur P°. se of the present chapter to describe how he 
took advantage of the opening thus provided, and how, by ousting his 

b ^,° 1 verco t mm g a11 opposition, and by adding to his military renlwn, 
he was able not only to secure, but also to consolidate, his position as 
Tahmasp s principal commander and adviser. The task was no easy 

of n Fat e h Ca S KMn fi o St - PlaCe \ he had a m ° St f ° rmidable rival in theperso l 
c„„ J,j AI ‘ K !l an Q a J ar > whose aims were as ambitious as his own. 

Nadir ^ as soon to discover, little or no reliance could be placed 
pon Tahmasp, who was no more than a weathercock, veering first one 
way and then another ; he was, just as his father had been, a puppSt in the 
unds of his ministers. In the third place, any aspirant to high position 
L der ^^ ah f laSp w ° uld inevitably incur the enmity of these ministers 
who, though normally jealous of one another, would always unite in order 
to prevent some strong personality like Fath ‘ Ali Khan or Nadir from gain- 

reason° T“ ° Ter * heir we ? k “ asKr ; they feared, not wilout 

^ that Such a P^ rso r n . ^^eeded in making himself indispensable 
to Tahmasp, their period of influence would abruptly come to an end. 1 

h . T adl /? * WaS . P la “’ c ? uld never dope to make much headway until 

L a tra ^., some re g» lar ^oops who would be faithful 

l f ’ m nhke f 0St oftbe tribal levies which then con- 

stituted his forces, would not be liable to withdraw from his service at 

a moment s notice at their own whim or caprice or at that of some chief. 

After a few days halt at Khabushan, Tahmasp, in company with his 
-wo powerful supporters, left for Mashhad on the 22nd Muharram 
1 139 (1 9 fc d September, 172 6f ; ten days later, they camped by the shrine 
T Khwaja Rabi , 3 three miles north of Mashhad. On the march, acute 

U abuse wbiob Mirza Mahdi and Muhammad Muhsin heaped upon these ministers 

So sa;for m them Pre]UdlCe> “ “ ^ (wh ° was ^tihctly p/o-Saf^ had^nZ good 
T.N., p. 36. 

There is a description of this shrine in Colonel C. E. Mate’s Khurasan and Sistan, pp. 338-340. 

2 5 



26 


NADIR SHAH 


rivalry had developed between Nadir and Fath ‘Ali Khan, but the former 
succeeded in persuading Tahmasp to give him instead of his rival command 
of the troops who were to deliver the attack upon the city. 

Just as Mahmud had failed to take Isfahan by assault in 1722, so Nadir 
failed to force his way into Mashhad on this occasion. . The reasons were 
the same, namely, strong defences, manned by a fairly large garrison, 
on the one side, and a relatively small attacking force, unprovided with 
artillery, on the other. Under the circumstances, Nadir had no alternative 
but to give up his assaults and besiege the city. 

During the siege, the tension between Nadir and Fatih ‘Ali Khan 
developed into a life and death struggle for supremacy, the issue of which 
depended upon Tahmasp’ s attitude ; whichever could make his influence 
prevail over the prince would be the victor. It appears that Tahmasp 
had been annoyed at Fath ‘Ali Khan’s behaviour, and that he was, therefore, 
more favourably inclined towards his rival. Nadir took advantage of the 
situation to persuade the prince that Fath ‘Ali Khan was plotting to hand 
him over to Malik Mahmud, with the result that Tahmasp had Fath 
‘Ali Khan put to death on the 14th Safar (nth October). Extremely 
conflicting accounts of this affair are given by Nadir’s apologists (Mirza 
Mahdi and Muhammad Muhsin) on the one hand and by the Qajar 
historians on the other. While ‘Abdu’r-Razzaq maintained that Nadir 
had traduced Fath ‘Ali Khan and so caused him to suffer a martyr’s death, 1 
Mirza Mahdi alleged that Fath ‘Ali Khan had been intriguing against 
Tahmasp even before Nadir’s appearance on the scene. Tahmasp, he 
went on to say, wished to put the Qajar chief to death, but Nadir said that 
imprisonment would suffice ; Tahmasp agreed, but nevertheless had the 
death sentence carried out without Nadir’s knowledge. 2 Mirza Madhi’s 
version does not read at all convincingly, and there can be no doubt 
that Nadir’s conduct was most blameworthy 3 ; all that can be said in 
extenuation is that, had Fath ‘Ali Khan’s influence with Tahmasp been 
stronger than Nadir’s, the last-named would almost certainly have suffered 
banishment, if not death. 

His rival being removed from his path, Nadir had no difficulty in per- 
suading the supine Tahmasp to allow him to take over the control of 
iffairs ; he then made or rather caused to be made a number of appoint- 
ments. 4 He himself became Qurchi-Bashi (“ Master of the Ordnance ”), 
md received the title of Tahmasp Quli (“ Slave of Tahmasp ”) Khan, while 
Kalb ‘Ali Beg, one of his brothers-in-law, was appointed Eshik-Aghasi. 

The Dynasty of the Kajars , p. 5. 
p. 37. 

Hanway was of opinion that F at^i 'Ali Khan was innocent of the charge, and that Nadir instigated 
his murder; see his Travels , Vol. IV, p. 17. 

For particulars of these appointments, see the Z.T., fol. 2x2 (b). 





EARLY RELATIONS BETWEEN NADIR AND TAHMASP 27 

Nadir now gave his whole attention to the siege of Mashhad, but he 
was no more successful than before. Malik Mahmud, emboldened by 
the dissensions which broke out in Tahmasp’s camp after Fath ‘Ali 
Khan had been put to death, made a sortie, 1 A severe engagement 
was fought near Khwaja Rabi‘, which resulted in the defeat of Malik 
Mahmud and his retreat to the city. 

Although Malik Mahmud did not venture outside his defences again, 
Nadir made no further attempt to take the city by assault, and it was 
only through the treachery of Pir Muhammad, - Malik Mahmud’s com- 
mander-in-chief, that he was able to enter it on the night of the 1 6th 
Rabi‘ II (ioth-iith December, 172 6). 2 Malik Mahmud, after vainly 
endeavouring to drive Nadir’s troops out of Mashhad, surrendered ; 
laying aside the Kayani crown which he had donned some three years 
before, he retired to a cell in the shrine of the Imam Rida. 

In fulfilment of a vow which he had made before the capture of Mashhad, 
Nadir gave orders for the shrine to be repaired, the dome to be re-gilt 
and a second minaret to be erected. 8 There is no means of ascertaining 
what were Nadir’s actual motives in taking this action. He may still 
have been a Shi‘a (if we assume that the hypothesis put forward on 
page 21 above is correct) ; it is, perhaps, more probable that he may 
merely have wished to curry favour with the mujtahids and mullas , who were 
still very influential. 

Nadir had not been long in Mashhad before he realised that his newly- 
won position was by no means assured. He had, it is true, won Tahmasp’s 
favour, but he had, on the other hand, incurred the enmity of his ministers,, 
who took every opportunity to poison the prince’s mind against him. 
Tahmasp, in the words of Muhammad Muhsin, “ by reason of his youth, 
and his reliance upon them, believed their baseless statements.” 1 Further- 
more, Nadir’s hold over many of the wild tribesmen of Abivard, Darragaz, 
Kalat and Khabushan was most precarious ; he could only count with 
certainty upon some of the Afshars and upon the Jalayirs under Tahmasp 
Khan Wakil. 

When Tahmasp went to Khabushan and left Nadir in Mashhad, the 
ministers redoubled their efforts to vilify Nadir, and at the same time 
intrigued with the Kurds of Khabushan. The prince was induced to 
sign orders to his Governors in Mazandaran, Astarabad and the Giraili 
districts to come to his assistance against the traitor Nadir. It is even 

1 T.N., p. 38. 

* Ibid., p. 38 and Z.T., fol. 212 (b). 

» This minaret stands on the southern side of the Sahn-i-Kuhna ; the other minaret, which is on 
the northern side of the Sahn, was built by Shah Tahmasp I. M. Street, in his article on 
Mas hhad in the E l. (Vol. Ill, p. 471) states that Nadir’s minaret was erected in 1730 ; this 
was doubtless the date when it was completed. 

4 Z.T., fol. 212 (b). 



■28 


NADIR SHAH 


alleged that Tahmasp sought to win over Malik Mahmud to his side. 1 

On learning of this dangerous development, Nadir left in haste for 
Khabushan, to which, on arrival, he laid vigorous siege. After defeating 
the Chamishgazak and Qarachorlu Kurds, who had sided with Tahmasp 
and his ministers, Nadir came to terms with the prince, who agreed to 
follow him to Mashhad. Nadir then proceeded to that city where he 
received Tahmasp with much ceremony on the Nau Ruz or New Year’s 
Day, 1139 (21st March, 1727) : the festivities and rejoicings lasted for 
a week. 2 

Scarcely had these celebrations come to an end when fresh risings 
of the Kurds took place. The forces of the insurgents were augmented 
by the Tatars of Merv and the Yamrili Turkomans. Sweeping across 
Darragaz, the rebel forces surrounded Nadir’s brother, Ibrahim Khan. 8 

Nadir, in company with Tahmasp, relieved Ibrahim Khan, afterwards 
besieging and taking Khabushan. He thereupon crushed the rebels 
in Darragaz, but had to return to Khabushan to quell a fresh disturbance 
there. He then went back to Mashhad, but immediately his back was 
turned further trouble broke out at Khabushan, fomented, it is alleged, by 
Tahmasp. On this occasion, the Chamishgazak and Qarachorlu were 
joined by the Shadillu Kurds. Nadir, however, speedily broke up the 
confederacy, and proceeded to Nishapur, whither Tahmasp had gone. 
Meanwhile, the Tatars of Merv revolted again, at the instigation of 
Malik Mahmud. Nadir, having arranged for the quelling of this revolt, 
had Malik Mahmud and his nephew Malik Ishaq put to death. 

Disturbances had also broken out in Qa’in where a Sistani chief named 
Husain Sultan, an ally of Malik Mahmud, had expelled the governor 
whom Nadir had appointed. 4 On the 1 7th Dhu’l-Hijja, 1 1 39 (5th August, 
1727), Nadir and Tahmasp left Mashhad for Qa’in with 800 men, and 
soon forced Husain Sultan to submit ; a son and nephew of Malik 
Mahmud, who had been with him, fled to Isfahan, where they joined 
Ashraf. 

From Qa’in Nadir marched via Isfidin, in the Zirkuh district, and 
Madhinabad against the Afghans of Bihdadin. 6 It was a trying march 
in the height of summer, and water was very scarce ; furthermore, the 
cannon kept sinking into the sand near Madhinabad. Nadir took Bihda- 
din by assault, and then besieged Sangan 6 which had also refused to submit. 

1 T.N.,p. 40. Mirza Mahdi states that Malik Mahmud informed Nadir of this action of Tahmasfc. 

It is unfortunate that no unbiased account of these happenings is extant } 

t Z.T., fol. 213 (b). 

* Muhammad Kazim of Merv gives his full name as Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, but he was usually 

known as Ibrahim Khan. J 

4 T.N., p. 46. The text of the Bombay edition is very corrupt here. 

5 This place is now known as Behdavin. 

• This place is now known as Sangun-i-Pa'in. 



EARLY RELATIONS BETWEEN NADIR AND TAHMASP 29 

Here he narrowly escaped death when one of his cannon burst. 1 On the* 

1 st October, he took Sangan by assault and put all the inhabitants to the- 
sword because they had feigned submission some days before and had then 
reopened hostilities. News was then received that 7,000 to 8,ooo- 
Abdali Afghans from Herat had reached Niazabad, in order to assist 
the inhabitants of Sangan. Nadir at once marched off to meet these- 
Afghans, whom he encountered near Sangan. Knowing that his troops, 
were inexperienced and that the many defeats which the Afghans had 
inflicted upon the Persians had caused the latter greatly to fear them, 
he did not risk an open battle. Instead, he placed the bulk of his men in 
trenches while he, at the head of 500 trained cavalry, made a series of' 
attacks upon the Afghans. Although the troops in the trenches wished 
to take part in the fighting, Nadir refused them permission. After four 
days of fighting and skirmishing, the Afghans “exchanged fight for- 
flight,” 2 and retired towards Herat. Nadir, still feeling the need of caution 
because of the inexperience of his troops, refrained from pursuit, and re- 
turned to Mashhad. The time had not yet come for a real trial of strength 
with the formidable Abdalis. 

Relations between Tahmasp and Nadir continued to be strained,, 
the former’s ministers seeking every opportunity to discredit the successful-: 
newcomer. Tahmasp is said to have urged Nadir repeatedly to march, 
direct on Isfahan, but he always replied that it would be most imprudent ; 
to do so until the Abdalis of Herat, who were so near at hand, were- 
subdued. 3 

It was at length agreed that Nadir and Tahmasp, starting respectively- 
from Mashhad and Nishapur, should meet at Sultanabad (Turshiz), ana 
march on Herat with their combined forces. Tahmasp, however, having - 
been persuaded by his advisers not to co-operate, informed Nadir that- 
he would go to Mazandaran, and requested him to lead the troops agamst- 
the Abdalis. Nadir agreed, and duly set out ; however, on discovering- 
that his enemies among the ministers and nobles were sowing disaffection 
in the army, he abandoned his advance on Herat and returned to Mashhad. 4 - 
Shortly afterwards, an Abdali raid on the Biarjumand district (E.S.E. 
of Shahrud) caused him to hasten from Mashhad, in the hope of inter- 
cepting the Afghans. On reaching Qadamgah he heard that Tahmasp- 
was attacking the Bughairi Turks, who were friendly to him. . Nadir - 
appealed to Tahmasp to desist and to co-operate with him against the* 


1 T.N., p. 47. 

* Ibid., p. 48. There is a play upon words in the Persian text which I have attempted to repro-- 

duce ; the original reads : harb-ra bi-harb badal sakhta. 


• Ibid , p. 49. 

* Z.T., fol. 213 (b). 



3 o NADIR SHAH 

Afghans ; Tahmasp replied by summoning him to Sabzavar. Realising 
that a serious crisis was developing, Nadir gave up his project of inter- 
cepting the raiders, and set out for Sabzavar. \Vhile sn Touts for that 
place, he discovered that Tahmasp had sent messages to all parts of 
Khurasan stating that his (i.e .*, Nadir’s) orders and those of his subordinates 
were to be disregarded . 1 On reaching Sabzavar, he found the gates 
shut in his face ; after waiting in vain for the gates to be opened, he began 
to bombard the town, which soon surrendered. Tahmasp, having no 
alternative, then joined Nadir and swore to be friendly to him. That 
s am e night a number of Tahmasp’s guards and retinue left for Mazan- 
daran, with the object of fomenting trouble in that province. Two days 
later, Nadir sent the prince to Mashhad under virtual arrest. After vainly 
trying to cut off the Afghan raiders, he returned to Mashhad himself. 

Almost immediately afterwards, Nadir was informed that the Turko- 
mans inhabiting the plain between Durun and Astarabad were raiding the 
country round the former place. Calling upon the Chamishgazak and 
Qarachorlu Kurds to accompany him, he set out on a punitive expedition. 
The Kurds, however, refused to obey, and attacked and defeated Ibrahim 
Khan. In the meanwhile, Nadir had reached the mountain known as the 
Balkhan Dagh , 2 near which he met with and defeated the Turkomans. 
On his return march, Nadir learnt of the Kurds’ defeat of his brother, 
so he advanced into their country and killed a large number of them. 

Whilst these operations were in progress, one of Tahmasp’s followers, 
Muhammad ‘Ali Khan ibn Aslan by name, had proceeded successively 
to Bistam and the provinces of Astarabad and Mazandaran, where he 
placed nominees of Tahmasp in positions of authority. Serious dis- 
turbances then broke out in the two provinces. Nadir immediately set out 
for Astarabad, but turned northwards at Kafshgari, crossed the Atrak, and 
crushed some rebellious Yamut Turkomans. He then went to Astarabad, 
where Tahmasp joined him. Nadir marched into Mazandaran with 
Tahmasp, and soon reduced the province to order ; in the course of 
these operations Dhu’l-Fiqar, the leader of the party hostile to him, 
was killed. After taking measures to guard the passes leading from 
Mazandaran to the Tehran and Khar districts, which were in the hands 
of the Ghalzai Afghans, Nadir sent an envoy, in Tahmasp’s name, to the 
court of Russia, to demand the restitution of Gilan . 8 

1 Z.T., fol. 2x3 (b). 

s This name is incorrectly given as Pul-i-Khan Daghi in the Bombay edition of the T.N., p. 53 ; 
Jones omits the name altogether. 

3 T.N., p. 55. Butkov (Vol. I, p. 100) states that Tahmasp wrote to General Levashev, in 
December, 1728, that he would shortly be entering Gilan in company with Avramov (the 
Russian Consul at Resht). Regarding Tahmasp' s envoys to Russia and Constantinople 
in 1727 / 8, see Stanyan’s despatches from Constantinople ; these are in the Public Record 
Office, S.P. 97. Vol. XXV. 



EARLY RELATIONS BETWEEN NADIR AND TAHMASP 31 

Leaving Tahmasp at Sari, Nadir returned to Mashhad in February 
or early March, 1729 1 ; after Nau Ruz he began to prepare for his 
campaign against the Abdalis. 

Nadir’s determination to crush the Abdalis and to win back Herat 
before attempting to recover Isfahan from the Ghalzais is proof of his sound 
understanding of the situation. Though the Abdalis, owing to internal 
dissensions, had not made any attack on Khurasan on a big scale for several 
years, they were always a potential danger. In view of their position 
and their well-known fighting qualities, Nadir feared that, if he and 
Tahmasp and their forces were to absent themselves from Khurasan for 
any length of time, the Abdalis would compose their differences, and 
make a bold bid to take Mashhad, thus striking at the basis of Tahmasp’s 
power. It could be regarded as practically certain that the majority 
of the fickle and unstable Kurds and other tribesmen of north-east 
Khurasan would, in that event, forget their vows, and ally themselves 
with the invaders or, at any rate, take advantage of their advent to throw 
off their allegiance. 

During the previous ten years the Abdalis had experienced many 
vicissitudes. As already stated, they had successfully thrown off the 
Persian yoke and had defeated the punitive expeditions which the Shah 
had sent against them ; they had, moreover, held their own against the 
Ghalzais. 2 Their internal affairs were, however, extremely troubled. 
In 1718 ‘Abdullah Khan Sadozai was murdered by a rival belonging to 
the same clan called Muhammad Zaman Khan, but the latter was soon 
afterwards dispossessed by another chief, Muhammad Khan Afghan by 
name. The new leader besieged Mashhad for four months during the 
winter of 1722-23, but failed to take it. On returning empty-handed 
to Herat, the unsuccessful chief was deposed in favour of Dhu’l-Fiqar, 
the elder son of Muhammad Zaman Khan (whose younger son Ahmad 
afterwards became famous as Ahmad Shah Durrani). In 1137 a.h. 
(1725-26) Ragman, a son of the murdered ‘Abdullah Khan Sadozai, 
sought to avenge his father by attacking Dhu’l-Fiqar. This civil war 
was only terminated when the Abdalis sent Dhu’l-Fiqar to Bakharz and 
exiled Rahman to Qandahar. Allah Yar Khan, a brother of Muhammad 
Khan Afghan, was then elected chief, but his authority was soon challenged 
by Dhu’l-Fiqar. 3 

On the Abdalis hearing of Nadir’s impending attack on them, the 
rival factions patched up their differences and combined forces, Allah 
Yar Khan becoming Governor of Herat and Dhu’l-Fiqar that of Farah. 

1 Z.T., iol 214 (a). 
a See pages 3 and 4 above. 

* For details of these events, see Sayyid Mnhammed al-Musawi's Kitab-i 4 ahqiq va ta'dad-u 
Aqwam-i-Afghan . . . (B.M. MS. OR. 1861) fols. 5 (a) to 6 (b). 



32 


NADIR SHAH 


Nadir, having finished his preparations, left Mashhad in company 
with Tahmaspon the 4th Shawwal, 1141 (3rd May, 1729), 1 and marched 
southwards, via Jam, Farmandabad 2 and Kariz. 3 At the same time 
the Abdalis, under Allah Yar Khan, advanced north-westwards from 
Herat. 


Battle was joined between the Persian forces and the Abdalis at Kafir 
Qal'a, 4 where the Abdalis under Muhammad Zaman Khan had signally 
defeated the Safavi general Safi Quli Khan, ten years before. 

Nadir pursued the same cautious policy as before ; restraining the 
ardour of his troops, he surrounded his infantry with his artillery, and 
posted a body of cavalry on the flank. The Abdalis were the first to attack 
and a desperate struggle took place. The Persian infantry were thrown 
into confusion by an Abdali charge, but Nadir retrieved the fortunes of the 
day by a cavalry attack, and himself cut down one of the enemy leaders. 
He then received a lance-thrust in the right foot. 5 Night fell soon after* 
and both sides withdrew to their respective lines. * 

On the following day the Abdalis retired to the Hari Rud, with Nadir’s 
army in pursuit. 


1. a?jv k att ^ e was fought at Kusuya where, after a severe struggle, 
the Abdalis suffered a heavy defeat, and fell back precipitately on Herat 
leaving their artillery, tents and baggage behind. * 

Nadir and his troops advanced rapidly on Herat via Tirpul. Allah 
Yar Khan, having reorganised his forces, marched from Herat to oppose 
the Persians. The two armies met near Ribat-i-Parian, a village a few 
miles west of Herat. The battle lasted from early morning until midday, 
when the Abdalis retired, leaving over one thousand dead on the field. 
A dust storm, lasting for 48 hours, effectively prevented any further 
fighting,. On the third day, a messenger from Allah Yar Khan reached 
the Persian camp with proposals for peace, but Nadir refused to listen 
to such proposals unless Allah Yar Khan and his fellow-chiefs came in 
person to make them. Allah Yar Khan was about to comply, but he 
reopened hostilities on receiving word that his erstwhile rival Dhu’l-Fiqar 
was marching to his assistance. ^ 

witwv,^ K S iwf% bod7 of t0 re P el Dhu’l-Fiqar and encamped 
with the bulk of his forces at Shakiban. Dhu’l-Fiqar, having evaded the 


1 T.N., p. 56. 

* Now known as Farmanabad. 

knownL^^a^^^w^^'tw*^ VeiledP^^^fVi! Hasllin ? ibn £ akim > otherwise 

' r -te (Lucknow, 1850) , page 

in tie attempt. See alto Muhammad 



EARLY RELATIONS BETWEEN NADIR AND TAHMASP 33 



troops sent against him, hid in ambush near Shakiban ; when Allah Yar 
Khan launched an attack on Nadir from the east, Dhu’l-Fiqar and his men 
fell upon the Persian camp and began to plunder it. Detaching sufficient 
men to drive off Dhu’l-Fiqar, Nadir managed, with the remainder, to 
withstand Allah Yar Khan’s attack. On the following day, he fought 
another obstinate battle with Allah Yar Khan in which he eventually 
obtained the victory. Once more the Abdali leader sent a messenger with 
peace proposals, but Nadir returned the same answer as before. Some 
of the Abdali chiefs then came in person to Nadir, and submitted to 
him ; after offering excuses for their conduct, they offered not only 
to obey, but also to assist the Persians against the Ghalzais. Although 
Tahmasp and his ministers were opposed to accepting the Abdalis’ 
offer, Nadir decided to do so. On the following day a large number of 
Abdali chiefs came to the camp bearing presents, and were rewarded 
with robes of honour. Several of the more notable chiefs entered 





NADIR SHAH 


34 

Tahmasp’s service, and Allah Yar Khan was officially appointed Governor 
of Herat. 1 

Nadir and Tahmasp started on their homeward march soon after, 
and reached Mashhad on the 4th Dhu’l-Hijja (1st July), having been absent 
for two months. 

Although this campaign did not completely shatter the power of the 
Abdalis and prevent them from revolting later, 2 it was of importance 
in that it demonstrated the fact that the Afghans were not invincible, 
and that the Persians, when properly trained and led, could defeat them. 
The Persian army, after many years of neglect and lack of training and 
discipline, 3 was at last being welded into a fighting force again, and was 
learning to have confidence not only in its leader but in itself. 

4 T.N., p. 60. 

11 See p. 51, below. 

’Major-General Sir F. Goldsmid, in his interesting article entitled Persia and its Military Re- 
sources (in the Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, Vol. XXII I, 7th March, 
1879), referred as follows to the state of the army under the later Safa vis : “ Moth . . . 
Abbas II and his son Suliman made some attempt to restore the strength and cihciency of 
the army, but little progress was made . . . the service continued to deteriorate, and was a 
very poor one indeed under the later Safavian monarchs. In those days a state of peace was 
especially destructive to the morale of a soldier. Neither drill, discipline, ga rris< >n n< >r outpost 
duty was a serious matter, if at all heeded ; the Persian sarbaz lived in his own house and had, 
it might be, no more work to perform for the State than to obey a yearly or half-yearly 
summons to parade with full equipment, and show his weapons to an inspecting officer." 



CHAPTER IV 

The Expulsion of the Ghalzais 

All danger of attack from the Abdalis having been, for some time at 
least, removed. Nadir and his army could now turn their attention to the 
more formidable task of expelling the Ghalzais from Persia and placing 
1 ahmasp upon the throne. F s 

In the opening chapter, it was stated that Ashraf’s arrogant 
bearing towards Turkey had involved him in war with that country 
he was also for a time, at war with Russia, but no really serious fighting 
took place between the Ghalzais and the Russians.* Although freatlf 

“ ^ hj , the n Tu , rks > Ashraf ^quitted himself well for some time^ 
but he was eventually forced to acquiesce in the loss of much territor; 

of tt r'h 1 T S StrUgg J e Sh ° wed ? at ’ aIt hough the fighting qualities 
of the Ghalzais remained unimpaired, they could not make head against 

a powerful state like Turkey, which had a numerous and well-equfpped 
army. As has been already pointed out, Ashraf, owing to his feud with 
is cousin Husain, could get no reinforcements from Oandahar. 8 

A? L in J°l? nt J 1Ctim of the .Turco-Afghan war was the unfortunate 
ex-Shah Sultan Husain Late in 172 6, when Ahmad Pasha of Baghdad, 
who was in command of the Turkish forces, was marching against Ashraf, 
he sent a message to the latter that the Afghans were barbarians whowere 

nW° r S, 7 lf f Q r u mg u er a CiviHs f d kin g dom > and ^at he was coming to 
place Shah Sultan Husain on the throne of Persia again. Ashraf im- 
mediately sent orders to Isfahan for the ex-Shah to be beheaded and for 
his head to be brought to the camp. These orders were duly carried out, 
whereupon Ashraf sent the gory head to Ahmad Pasha. 4 

In May and June, 1729, rumours were current in Isfahan that Husain 
Sultan of Qandahar was about to march against Ashraf. These rumours 
were succeeded by reports that Tahmasp and Nadir, having been victorious 
over the Abdalis, had begun to advance on Isfahan. Ashraf, in alarm, sent 
reinforcements to the Afghan garrison in Qazvin, and then, on the 13th 

1 See p. 16 above. 

‘ sat iszss.'z ass 

:1 See p. 16 above. 

35 



3 6 NADIR SHAH 

August, himself marched to Tehran with a train of artillery and all the 

troops that he could muster. 1 XT , , , . , 

On hearing of Ashraf’s northward march, Nadir, who had just returned 
to Mashhad from Herat, hurriedly set out against the Afghans. 
Muhammad Muhsin states that, before the army left Mashhad, Tahmasp 
and Nadir entered into an agreement whereby the former undertook, 
in return for Nadir’s services, to grant to him in fief the provinces of 
Khurasan, Kirman and Mazandaran, after Isfahan had been retaken and 
the Afg han s driven out from Persia. 2 Mirza Mahdi does not mention 
this agreement, but there seems to be no reason to doubt the accuracy 
of Muhammad Muhsin ’s statement. 

On the 1 8th Safar, 1142 (12th September, 1729), Nadir and Tahmasp 
left Mashhad and marched via Nishapur and Sabzavar to relieve Samnan, 
which Ashraf was besieging. 3 Ashraf, for his part, after detaching some 
of his force to continue the siege of Samnan, advanced eastwards to meet 
Nadir. 

The Afghan advance guard, under Muhammad Saidal Khan, made an 
unsuccessful attempt to capture Nadir’s artillery at Bistam. Saidal then 
fell back as far as Mihmandust, 1 miles E.N.E. of Damghan, where 
Ashraf joined him with the main part of the army. 4 

Nadir continued to advance until he reached the small river of Mihman- 
dust, just to the east of the village of that name. At this spot, on the 
morning of the 6th Rabi‘ I (29th September), the battle opened. 6 Nadir 
had formed his men into one body, encircled by his musketeers and 
artillery, and had given strict orders that no one was to move or to fire 
until he gave the command. The Afghans, following their usual practice, 
were in three divisions. They impetuously charged the Persian centre 
and then attacked the flanks. Nadir waited until the Afghans came within 
musket shot before giving the order to fire. Though many Afghans 
fell, the rest pressed on, but found, to their surprise, that the Persians 
were able not only to withstand the shock of their attack, but to take the 
offensive. Much havoc was caused by the Persian artillery, which 
destroyed the Afghan zanburaks and inflicted heavy casualties. 6 On 

1 Gombroon Diary, 4th /15th July and 13th /24th October, 1729 (based on letters from Cockoll 
and Geekie, from Isfahan). 

* Z.T., fol. 2x5 (a). It seems evident, from Tahmasp’s promise of Mazandaran to Nadir, that he 

now regarded as a dead letter the treaty which he had concluded with Russia in September, 
1723, under the terms of which he had undertaken, inter alia, to cede that province to that 
country ; it is to he noted that this treaty was never ratified. 

8 T.N., p. 61, Hazin, p. 192. 

* T.N., p. 61. 

8 Ibid., p. 62. 

* Mirza Mahdi speaks of the “ artillery-men of Frankish (European) race " ( topchitm-i-firangi - 

nizhai), but, as it is most unlikely that Nadir could have had any foreign artillery-men at 
this early stage, he must have merely used the term to imply that the Persian artillery-men 
were skilful (European artillery-men being then generally reputed to be the most skilled). 



THE EXPULSION OF THE GHALZAIS 


37 

Ashraf’s standard-bearer being killed by a cannon shot, the Afghans broke 
and fled. The Persians, it is said, wished to pursue the enemy, but Nadir, 
feeling that they were as yet insufficiently experienced, held them back. 1 

Neither Mirza Mahdi nor Muhammad Muhsin gives the numbers 
of the opposing forces or the extent of their losses. Otter gives the 
strength of the Afghans as 50,000, 2 * which seems on the high side, while 
Hanway estimates the Persian strength at 25,000.* Cockell puts the 
Afghan losses at 12,000 and those of the Persians at 4,ooo. 4 * 

Unstinted praise must be accorded to Nadir not only for his generalship 
and bravery during the battle, but also (and, indeed, more particularly) 
for his careful training of the troops beforehand and his strict enforcement 
of discipline. The effects of Nadir’s training of his troops and of his 
leadership were, in fact, almost miraculous. Instead of flying almost 
at the mere sight of an Afghan, the Persians not only stood their ground 
without flinching, but proved more than a match for their redoubtable 
adversaries. Like Cromwell and other great commanders, Nadir, besides 
having supreme faith in himself, had the gift of inspiring in others implicit 
confidence in his leadership. 

After some interval had elapsed, Nadir and Tahmasp advanced to 
Damghan, whence an envoy was sent to Constantinople to demand the 
return of the provinces which the Turks had conquered ; the envoy, 
however, died at Tabriz. 6 From Damghan the army continued on its 
westward march ; en route , Nadir had, it is said, occasion to tell some 
unpleasing truths to Tahmasp, who, in a rage, refused for a time to 
proceed. 6 In the meantime, Ashraf had fallen back towards Varamin and 
had sent for reinforcements from Tehran ; he then prepared an elaborate 
ambush for the Persians in a narrow defile in the Khar valley. Nadir, 
having received warning of this ambush from his scouts, sent out strong 
bodies of musketeers to attack the enemy on both flanks, while he marched 
straight against them. These tactics were completely successful; once 
more he routed the Afghans, who fled to Isfahan leaving their cannon and 
baggage behind. 7 

Before advancing any further, Nadir persuaded Tahmasp to go to 
Tehran (which the Afghans had evacuated), in order, as Mirza Mahdi 
put it, “ to settle important affairs of the langdom there.” 8 In reality, 

1 T.N., p. 62. * Voyage en Turquie et en Perse, Vol. I, p. 307. 

* Vol. IV, p. 27. 

* Fraser’s Nadir Shah, p. 96. Shaikh Hazin (p. 193) states that the only Persian casualties were 

two men who were slightly wounded ! 

* T.N., p. 63. Stanyan, the British Ambassador at Constantinople, reported, in a despatch to 

London, dated the 24th November /5th December, 1729 (S.P. 97, Vol. XXV) that another 

Persian envoy, who must have been sent previously, had reached Constantinople at the 
end of October. 

» Ibid. 7 Ibid., p. 64. * Ibid. 



NADIR SHAH 


38 


Nadir, of course, wished the prince to be out of the way, so that he might 
have an absolutely free hand. 

When Ashraf reached Isfahan after his series of defeats, he put no less 
than 3,000 of the * ulama and other prominent inhabitants to death, while 
his men plundered and set fire to the bazaars. Fearing lest the employees 
of the English and Dutch East India Companies should escape to Nadir, 
Ashraf had them stripped and thrown into prison, where they remained 
for 17 days ; they then escaped with the connivance of their guards. 1 

Ahmad Pasha, of Baghdad, in response to an appeal for help from 
Ashraf, sent him some troops and, it is said, some cannon. 2 Ashraf then 
marched N.N.W. to the village of Murchakhur, near which he encamped. 

Nadir, after being relieved of the presence of Tahmasp, marched to- 
wards Isfahan via Natanz, 3 and was only a few miles east of Murchakhur 
at the time of Ashraf s arrival there. He did not venture to attack the 
Afghans, but made a feint towards Isfahan in the hope of luring the enemy 
from their position. The ruse was successful, as Ashraf advanced to the 
attack. Ashraf, in imitation of Nadir’s tactics at Mihmandust, had 
formed his troops into one body, and placed his artillery on the flanks. 
The Persians wheeled round to face the oncoming Afghans, and attacked* 
their musketeers being on the van. The Persians’ attack was so successful 
that many of the Afghan cannon were seized ; severe hand-to-hand 
fighting ensued in which the Persians were victorious, despite furious 
flank and rear attacks by the enemy. The Persians pressed home their 
advantage and captured the remainder of the Afghan artillery and many 
prisoners, amongst whom were a number of Turks. Nadir is said to 
have treated these Turks kindly and to have set them free. 

. Ashraf reached Isfahan in the evening, and immediately made prepara- 
tions for flight. Every available animal was collected for the conveyance 
of the women, children and treasures, and a start was made for Shiraz 
three days later (13th November). 4 

On learning of the Afghans’ evacuation of Isfahan, Nadir marched from 


1 See the letter from John Home, the Agent at Gombroon, to London, dated the «st December 
. Diartlfi iiT^o'th DeSmb^ ° f *** ”* ^ Gulf liet » rds )> the Gombroon 

*Mirza Mahdi (p. 65) states that Ahmad Pasha sent “ several Pashas and a f.tw 
men," and Shaikh Sarin adds that he also dispatched a brigade ^ rfitfuiyK* T, 

' w l0ng ' r ae road ™ QotaH. ™ practicable for artillery, whcrcaa 

Ifffljfe^sasswaasaEfiss 

KS3fsa,?sfsx3-"-**« 



THE EXPULSION OF THE GHALZAIS 


39 


Murchakhur and entered the city on the 1 6th November. One of his 
first acts was to send word to Tahmasp of his success and to urge him to 
come to Isfahan. 

Tahmasp accordingly left Tehran, and entered Isfahan on the 8 th Jumadi I 
(29th November), nearly seven and a half years after his escape from it during 
the siege. Hanway relates that Tahmasp’s joy at re-entering Isfahan 
was changed into grief when he saw his father’s palace “ exhibiting only 
naked walls,” and that, when he entered the harem, “an old woman 
threw her arms about his neck in great transports of joy ; as he knew 
that Ashraf had carried away his sisters and other relations, he was the 
more surprised to find this person to be his mother. This lady had, ever 
since the invasion of the Afghans, disguised herself in the habit of a slave 
and submitted to all the offices of drudgery, which are ordinarily imposed 
on persons in that situation.” 1 

Isfahan was, indeed, only the shadow of its former self 2 ; it had suffered 
terribly during the siege of 1722, and many of the inhabitants who had 
survived that ordeal perished in subsequent massacres. Shaikh Hazin, 
who arrived in Isfahan soon after its recapture, said : 

"I . . . beheld that great city, notwithstanding the presence of the King, 
in utter ruin and desertion. Of all that population and of my friends scarcely anyone 
remained .” 3 


On Tahmasp’s arrival, Nadir informed him that he wished to leave 
Isfahan for Khurasan with his men as soon as the coronation ceremony 
had taken place. It seems clear that, in reality, he had no intention 
of doing anything of the kind. He well knew that, though the Shah 
both disliked and feared him, he would be unable to dispense with his 
services until not only the Qhalzais, but also the Turks and Russians 
were expelled from Persian soil. Tahmasp, as Na’dir had undoubtedly 
foreseen, pressed him to remain, and did so again on the following day, 
in the presence of all the army leaders. After long discussions, Nadir 
made a pretence of changing his mind, and announced that he would 
stay. 4 

The recovery of Isfahan and the establishment of Tahmasp upon 
the throne of his fathers were events of great importance. Although a 
vast amount remained to be done before all the invaders could be driven 
from Persian territory, these events augured well for the future, besides 


1 Travels, Vol. IV, p. 35. 

1 See the translation in La Mamye-Clairac (Vol. Ill, pages 91 and 92) of a Turkish official s report ; 
this official had been sent to Isfahan after its recapture, in order to report on conditions 
there. 

1 Ahwal, p. 205. 

* T.N., p. 68. 



„ n NADIR SHAH 

4 ° 

being pleasing to the national pride ; they were of particular value in that 
they served to aid the Persians to regain confidence m themselves. How- 
ever it was not Tahmasp, but Nadir who gained m power and prestige 
as a result of these developments, and it was not long before he took 
advantage of this fact. 

In another respect, the recapture of the capital was of importance, 
because it brought Nadir for the first time into direct contact with 
Europeans . 1 At that time, the European community at Isfahan consisted 
of the French Consul (the Chevalier de Gardane, who had succeeded his 
brother, the Sieur de Gardane, two and a half years before), William 
Cockell, the Resident of the English East India Company, and his 
assistant, John Geekie, the Resident and other representatives of the 
Dutch East India Company, and a number of priests and missionaries, the 
majority of whom were French . 2 * 

During the six weeks that Nadir spent in Isfahan he met Cockell and 
Geekie on several occasions, and treated them at first very politely. After 
promising to make amends to the Company for the losses which it had 
suffered during the Afghan usurpation, Nadir gave Cockell a letter for 
John Horne, the Agent at Gombroon, in which he requested him to take 
measures to prevent the Afghans from escaping, and to act as Governor 
and Shahbandar* at Gombroon, until Persians could be appointed to those 
positions . 4 Tahmasp gave Cockell and Geekie an audience and treated 
them with great civility ; he likewise promised to reimburse the Company. 
The Gombroon Agent, in his own words : 

“wrote Shaw Thomas’s 5 general a very complaisant letter congratulating him 
on His Majesty’s happy Success. . . . (I) magnified the Assistance I gave to his people 
here (i.e., at Gombroon), and assured him of our readiness to promote His Majesty’s 
Interest .” 6 

Buoyed up with hope, Cockell gave valuable presents to the Shah and 
to Nadir. The Dutch, not to be outdone, gave still more costly presents. 
Unfortunately, the rosy prospects which everybody entertained were 

1 Except for his meeting or meetings with the Greek traveller, Basil Batatzes, at Mashhad some 
time in 1728 (see p. 223 of E. Legrand’s French translation of Batatzes's Travels, entitled 
Voyages de Basile Vatace en Europe et en Asie, Paris, 1886). 

s Henceforward, the task of recording Nadir’s achievements is rendered easier by the fact that 
one can supplement the material furnished by the Persian historians with first-hand informa- 
tion from European sources, although there is no continuous record from any one pen. 

8 The Shahbandar was the official who collected the customs duties on all merchandise arriving 
at the port (see le Bruyn, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 206). 

< Gombroon Diary, 9th /20th December, 1729, quoting from letters from Isfahan. 

5 This is the usual manner in which the E. I. Co's representatives wrote “ Shah Jahmaap ” ; 
sometimes the order of the words was reversed which, as Curzon remarked, “ has not a very 
regal sound” ! 

'Letter dated the 31st December, 1729 /nth January, 1730, from John Horne to London (in 
Vol. XV of the Persia and the Persian Gulf Records). 



THE EXPULSION OF THE GHALZAIS 


4i 


of short duration. As for the English and Dutch, a most unfortunate 
situation developed. Although the representatives of the two Companies 
were often on excellent terms with one another, there were times when 
serious disputes occurred and when the one Company intrigued against 
the other. On this occasion, according to the English records, the Dutch, 
wishing to discredit their competitors, alleged to Nadir that the English 
had been actively assisting the Afghans ; the English responded with 
similar accusations. Nadir was quick to turn this incident to his own 
advantage. Affecting to believe that the Dutch allegations were true, 
he sent muhassils (tax collectors) to the English factory to demand payment 
of 3,000 tomans (£7,000), of which 1,000 tomans were to be paid at once. 
Cockell and Geekie refused to pay anything, and were then informed 
that they would be beaten. Eventually, Nadir agreed to accept 300 
tomans ; when his muhassils collected the money, they seized all the 
Company’s horses and removed them as well. 1 Indignant at this high- 
handed treatment, Cockell and Geekie contemplated leaving Isfahan ; 
they intended to remonstrate with Nadir personally, but he left for Shiraz 
before they could do so. After his departure they complained to the Shah 
of their treatment ; he received them in private audience and assured 
them that 

“he would not only return the sum forc’d from them but likewise make them 
reparation for the losses the Honble. Co. has sustained during the Ophgoon (Afghan) 
Rebellion.” 

After this audience, Cockell and Geekie decided to stay in Isfahan until 
they could ascertain whether or not “ the Hopes and Promises given them 
were only to amuse them. . . .” 2 * * 

The Shah, who was very friendly to Cockell and Geekie, in company 
with his ministers paid a visit to the Company’s factory, where they 
were entertained with a display of fireworks : 

“ . . . among which was the Figure of Hoshroff (Ashraf) contrived to bum after 
the Europe Manner being a thing entirely new to the Persians and apropos ; they 
were exceedingly delighted with it as indeed with their treatment in general.” 8 

Tahmasp was described, on this occasion, as : 

“ a very young man who delights much in visiting and. going to all Places he has 
not seen before who during his minority was shut up in the State Prison in his 
Father’s Palace. . . 

1 Gombroon Diary, 14th /25th February, 1730. 

t Ibid., 7th /i 8th March, 1730. 

* Letter from Gombroon to London, 2nd/i3th, April, 1731, in Vol. XV of Persia and the Persian 

Gulf Records. 



NADIR SHAH 


42 

Although Tahmasp was now upon the throne of his ancestors, he found 
that he was Shah only in name. For some time Nadir prevented him 
from appointing any ministers or functionaries, on the grounds that the 
money that would have to be paid to them as salaries would be better em- 
ployed as pay for his troops. 1 Nadir gave further evidence of his increasing 
pretensions when he married Radiyya Begum, one of Tahmasp’s sisters, 
without first obtaining the Shah’s consent. 2 He had already obtained 
Tahmasp’s agreement to the betrothal of his eldest son, Rida Quli, to 
Fatima Sultan Begum, another of the daughters of the late Shah Sultan 
Husain ; this betrothal may have been arranged at Mashhad, at the time 
when, according to Muhammad Muhsin, Tahmasp agreed to grant to 
Nadir in fief the provinces of Khurasan, Kirman and Mazandaran. 3 

The joy of the populace at the expulsion of the Afghans and the res- 
toration of the Safavi monarchy was soon 

" greatly eclipsed by the money that was ordered to be collected from all sorts of 
People to pay the naked and hungry Soldiery, which (money) has been raised in 
so violent and despotick a Manner that severall have been Drub’d to death and 
others quite ruin’d.” 4 

Nadir’s troops, in fact, behaved in a most cruel manner to the people 
of Isfahan, plundering their houses, and even seizing some of the inmates, 
and selling them as slaves. 5 It is not surprising that the people soon began 
to feel that they would have been better off under the Afghans. 

Nadir purposely delayed his pursuit of Ashraf for two reasons. In 
the first place, he wished to take advantage of his military successes and 
his recovery of the capital to strengthen his own position ; secondly, 
it was necessary to allow his troops to rest and to be properly clothed and 
equipped before setting out for the south in mid-winter. 

It is of interest to record the impression made by Nadir upon the 
French Consul, the Chevalier de Gardane, at this time. The Chevalier 
described him as : 

“ . . . un homme d’ environ quarante ans, 61ev6 dis son enfancc dans le metier des 
armes; valereux s’il en fut jamais; d’ailleurs homme d’entcndement, franc et 

1 See the most interesting account by the Chevalier de Gardane of Nadir and his behaviour at this 
time; La Mamye-Clairac published, in the third volume (pp. 105-100) of his Histoire, an 
extract from the Chevalier’s Relation. This Relation, according to I .a Mamye-Clairac, 
contained "un precis de ce qui s’est passd en Perse depuis la paix do 1727, jusqu'au mois 
deMai, 1730 ” ; this account was, he said, published in instalments in tho Gazette de Hollands 
in December 1731 and January, 1732 (I have been unable to get access to these numbers of 
the Gazette de Hollande ; they are not in the British Museum Library). 

* Gombroon Diary, 30th April /10th May, 1730. According to Butkov (Vol. I, p. 114), Radiyya 

Begum had formerly been the wife of a Georgian prince. 

* See p. 36 above. 

4 Gombroon Diary, 14th /25th February, 1730. 

* Ibid., 5th /16th July, 1730. 



THE EXPULSION OF THE GHALZAIS 


4 3 


sincere, recompensant bien ceux qui se portent vaillament, et punissant de mort 
ceux qui se lachent le pied dans les occasions oil il y a moyen de r&ister. II donna 
d'abord des preuves de sa capacite, de sa valeur et de sa fidelity dans diverses occasions, 
oil il fut employe, et quand il se vit bien avant dans les bons graces du Roi, il lui 
apprit k discemer les flatteurs et les traitres, l’obligea a chatier les uns et & eloigner 
les autres.” 1 

Before Nadir’s departure from Isfahan, the Shah, no doubt at his. 
general’s instigation, wrote to the Sultan of Turkey to inform him of the 
recovery of Isfahan ; in the same letter Tahmasp requested the Sultan 
to give back the Persian provinces which he still held. He followed up 
this letter by sending Rida Quli Khan Shamlu, the former general of Shah 
Sultan Husain, as Ambassador to Constantinople. The consequences, 
of this action will be described in the next chapter. 

In the meantime, the Afghans at Kirman, having heard of the disasters 
suffered by Ashraf, abandoned the town on the 19th December, after 
blowing up the citadel. 2 

On the 24th December, Nadir, despite the severity of the weather, 
began the march from Isfahan to Shiraz. Travelling by Abarquh and 
Mashhad-i-Madar-i-Sulaiman (Pasargadae), he reached Zarqan, 21 miles 
N.E. of Shiraz, where he found Ashraf awaiting him with 20,000 men. 
An obstinate battle took place, in which Ashraf displayed considerable, 
tactical skill. In the end, Nadir’s determined leadership and the stead- 
fastness of his men won the day, and the Afghans fled in some confusion 
to Shiraz. 8 

On the following morning Ashraf sent Muhammad Saidal Khan 
and two other Afghan notables to Nadir’s camp to ask for quarter. Nadir 
replied that he would grant quarter and receive Ashraf’s submission, 
if he would first deliver up the few remaining members of the family- 
of Shah Sultan Husain, who were still prisoners in the Afghans’ hands.. 
These personages (who were, apparently, all females) were duly handed 
over, but Ashraf, acting on Saidal’s advice, left Shiraz with such of his 
troops as were left, in the hope of escaping to Qandahar. 

Nadir, seeing the dust raised by the Afghans, realised that he had been 
deceived, and started in pursuit. His advance guard, consisting of 500- 
Afshars and Qarachorlu Kurds, came up with the Afghan rearguard at 
the Pul-i-Fasa, ten miles S.E. of Shiraz. A fight took place, in which 
a number of Afghans were captured, while many others were driven 
into the river and drowned. 4 Ashraf, however, made good his escape,. 

1 La Mamye-Clairac, op. cit., Vol. Ill, p. 105. . , 

* Gombroon Diary, 19th /30th January, 1730 (on the authority of a letter from the Company s. 

Armenian agent at Kirman). 

* According to the Ruznama of Mirza Muhammad Shirazi (p. 6), 10,000 Afghans were taken-. 

prisoners. See also the Fars-Nama, p. 167. 

* T.N., p. 71. 



NADIR SHAH 


44 

and fled to Lar. Nadir himself pursued the fugitives for several farsakhs , 
but, being unable to overtake them, he returned to Shiraz, whence he issued 
orders for every route to be closed to them. 

Some of the defeated Ghalzais, including Ashraf’s brother and nephew, 
separated from Ashraf and the main body of his followers, and made their 
way to the coast near Bandar Rig. Ashraf’s brother had with him some 
treasure and jewels with which to bribe the Arabs to rise in favour of the 
Afghans. Failing to meet with a favourable response from the Arabs, 
the fugitives wandered southwards to Charak, looking for a vessel in which 
to escape. Nadir had evidently expected such a move on the part of the 
Afghans, for he wrote to the Agent of the East India Co. at Gombroon, 
requesting him to dispatch the Company’s “ grab ” x and other vessels 
to intercept any Afghans who might seek to escape by sea, and to notify 
the Arab shaikhs on the coast that : 

"if any of them permit any Ophgoons to escape at their respective ports, they 
with their Wives and Familys shall be sold for Slaves .” 2 

It is not recorded whether the Agent complied with this request ; if 
he did so, his efforts, as will be seen below, were ineffectual. 

Meanwhile, Ashraf’s brother and nephew and their companions had 
come, near Charak, to the stronghold of Shaikh Ahmad Madani, a most 
turbulent local chieftain. Although the Shaikh refused at first to help 
the fugitives, he later agreed to do so, as they, like himself, were Sunnis . 3 
Having obtained a vessel, the Afghans crossed over to Julfar (Rasu’l- 
Khaima), on the Arabian side of the Gulf. The unfortunate fugitives 
were attacked immediately by ‘Omani Arabs, who killed many of them and 
enslaved the survivors. When Shaikh Hazin visited Muscat a few years 
later, he saw and conversed with Ashraf’s nephew and another Ghalzai 
of rank who were then employed as saqqas or water-carriers . 4 Shaikh 
Rashid of Basidu killed some other Afghans near Linga, when they were 
trying to escape by sea. 

Ashraf, accompanied by over 2,000 men and many women, left Lar 
early in February, and continued his flight in an easterly direction. Later 
in the month a messenger of the East India Co., when on his way from 
Kirman to Gombroon, met Ashraf and his followers in the Sirjan district . 5 

1 " Grab ” is an English corruption of the Arabic word ghurab, which means ordinarily a " crow," 
but which was also used to denote a type of vessel much used by the Arabs. Olaf Tor&n, 
m his book, A Voyage to Suratte, China, etc, (London, 1771), p. 205, describes a " grab ” as 
a two- or three-masted vessel, rigged in the European manner, with a low and sharp prow, 
like that of a galley. 

* Gombroon Diary, xst ji 2th February, 1730. 

* Iu t‘> 13th /24th January. Shaikh Hazin states (p. 228) that the Sunni Arabs of the Gulf Coast 

belonged to the Shafi' sect. 

* Shaikh IJazin, p. 202. 

* Gombroon Diary, 17th /28th February. 



THE EXPULSION OF THE GHALZAIS 45 

As. they went on, their numbers dwindled rapidly, partly through hostile 
action, and partly through defection. The authorities differ as to where 
and m what manner Ashraf met his end. The hitherto most generally 
accepted account, is that he and the two or three followers who were still 
with him were killed in Baluchistan or just within the borders of Sistan 
by one of the sons of ‘Abdullah Khan, a powerful Brahoi chieftain. 1 
On the other hand, Husain Sultan, of Qandahar, later informed Nadir 
that Ashraf had. been put to death near Zard Kuh by a force which he had 
dispatched to intercept him. 2 This claim, besides being accepted by 
IVIirza Mahdi, is supported by a report which Martin French, the Basra 
representative of the East India Company, sent to the London office 
of the Company on the 9th/ 20th September, 1730. 3 French stated 
that an Afghan named Muhammad Khan, who had formerly been Ashraf’s 
Master of the Ceremonies, had arrived at Basra a few days previously. 
Muhammad Khan said that he had accompanied his master on his flight 
towards Qandahar, and that, when two days’ march from that city, they 
had encountered a body of Husain’s troops. These men put Ashraf and 
several of his followers to death, but Muhammad Khan succeeded in 
escaping to the coast of Baluchistan, whence he had taken ship to Basra via 
Muscat. There thus seems but little doubt that it was Husain of Qan- 
dahar, and not Abdullah Khan, who terminated Ashraf’s career. 

With Ashraf’s final defeat and the destruction of his army, the first 
of Nadir s major tasks was successfully accomplished ; another formidable 
task now awaited him, namely, the humbling of the Turks. 


1 Shaikh Hazin (p. 203), who adds that 'Abdullah Khan sent Ashraf’s head to Tahmasp, together 
witt a valuable^diamond which was found upon his person. See also M. Longworth Dames 

■ T.N p. 78; see also Major H. G. Raverty’s Notes on Afghanistan and fart of Baluchistan, 
, , r Geographical, Ethnographical and Historical (London, 188S), p. 609. 

Vol. XV of Persia and the Persian Gulf Records. 



CHAPTER V 


Nadir’s First Turkish Campaign and his Final Subjection 

OF THE ABDALIS 


Nadir remained in Shiraz until shortly before the Nau Ruz ; during 
his stay, he gave orders for the town to be repaired, and himself contributed 
i A 00 tomans (£3,500) for restoring the Shah Chiragh mosque, besides 
presenting to it a set of gold candelabra and a quantity of gold from which 
a lamp was to be made. 1 

Shiraz had suffered much during the last few years, and, in the course 
of the final struggle with the Afghans, a large part of the town and prac- 
tically all the gardens had been destroyed. All the Indian banyans (Hindu 
merchants) 2 and many of the inhabitants had been killed by the Afghans 
in reprisal for an attack on them by the roughs of the town when the 
news of Ashraf s defeat at Murchakhur became known. 3 Several days of 
continuous gnowfall and rain had completed the devastation and destruction 
wrought by the Afghans. 4 * * Muhammad ‘Ali Khan ibn Aslan Khan was 
made Governor of Fars at this time. He took energetic steps to lay out 

th xicff n dens a £ am ; at orders > many thousands of trees were planted. 8 

Whilst Nadir was at Shiraz, he arranged for ‘Ali Mardan Khan Shamlu, 
a man who was entirely in his interest, 8 to be sent on a mission to 
Muhammad Shah, the Mughal Emperor, to announce the recapture of 
Isfahan, the accession of Tahmasp II, and the projected reconquest of 

an a ar. In the letter from Tahmasp conveying this message, no 
date was fixed for this Qandahar campaign, but the Emperor was asked, 


this statement is reproduced in the Fars-Nama, 


1 Rmnama of Mirza Muhammad Shirazi d 7 ■ 

p. 168. ' 1 

^ e in^e I city 1 at 1 Sat 1 time 1 (o^. 1 cij!fvoI 1, n^p^’46^ ma ^ e ^ ^ there Wer ° 1,000 ° £ tllCSe Indians 

’ a t£ 

. Shhld d pp n fto y 6^ 7 ’ 000 ' 

1 Mirza Muhammad Shirazi, op. cit., p. 5. 

5 10 ' Larg ® numbers of P ines and P^e trees, as well as fruit trees were planted at this 

* meTtum -^of Nadi J r Uly/lSt I?3 °' The A « ent bribed 'Ali Mardan Khan as a 


46 



NADIR’S FIRST TURKISH CAMPAIGN 47 

in the common interests of his realm and of that of Persia, to close his 
frontiers to all Afghan fugitives once the operations were begun. 1 

According to Mirza Mahdi, 2 Nadir expressed his intention at this time 
of returning to Khurasan, but it may well be doubted whether he really 
wished to do so. He had tasted the fruits of success, he was at the head 
of a considerable army, and, as will be seen below, he had in all probability 
already formulated the design of dispossessing Tahmasp of the crown. 
His ambition was boundless, and it therefore seems most improbable 
that he could seriously have contemplated retiring into relative obscurity 
in Khurasan just at the time when his feet were firmly planted on the 
ladder that led to higher things. It was not the first time that he had made 
such a pronouncement, 3 and it was not (as will be seen hereafter) by any 
means the last ; his probable object was to endeavour to cloak his real 
designs until he deemed that the moment had come to throw all pretence 
aside. If such were the case, his efforts, even at this early stage, were 
futile, since, only two months or so later, both the Chevalier de Gardane 
and Cockell stated that, at Isfahan, it was believed that he was aiming 
at the throne. The Chevalier said of him : 

“ Les rares talens que ce General a pour la guerre, le bonheur qui 1'accompagne 
dans toutes ses expeditions, la confiance du soldat qui Taime et le craint, tout cela 
joint ensemble l’a rendu redoutable chez les ennemis, et suspect dans la cour du 
Roi son Maitre. . . . Ispahan le Peuple, la Cour, le Roi lui-meme, tous craignent 
qu’il n’ait l'ambition de monter plus haut, et il ne s$aurait plus faire un pas en 
avant sans se saisir du Throne.” 4 

Before saying anything further regarding Nadir and his movements, 
it is necessary to describe briefly the position of Turkey in relation to 
Persia at this time. In the first chapter it was shown how Turkey, like 
Russia, had taken advantage of Persia’s troubles to seize much of her 
territory. As a result of the Turco-Afghan war, she had made further 
gains. Early in 1730 she held the whole of Georgia, Armenia, Adhar- 
baijan, part of Daghistan, and Shirvan (the rest of these two provinces 
being held by Russia), most of Persian ‘Iraq, and all of Persian Kurdistan, 
Hamadan and Kirmanshah. 

Tahmasp, in his desire to oust the Afghans, had made several requests 
to Turkey and Russia for aid. As late as October, 1729, a Persian 

1 T.N., p. 72. The text of this letter is given in full at the beginning of Vol. II of the Ta'rihh-i - 
Shahadat-i-Farrukh Siyar va Jalus-i- Muhammad Shah , by the Indian historian Muhammad 
Bakhsh. In response to a request from Nadir, the Dutch gave *AIi Mardan Khan a passage 
in one of their ships from Gombroon, but the captain later refused to take him beyond Muscat. 
The English Company then sought to regain their lost favour by sending a ship to Muscat 
to take the marooned envoy on to India. 

* Ibid. 

* See p. 39 above. 

4 La Mamye-Clairac, Vol. Ill, p. 107. 



NADIR SHAH 


48 

envoy reached Constantinople, but the Turks received him somewhat 
coldly, for fear of giving umbrage to Ashraf. Early in the following year 
a man named Muhammad ‘Ali Rafsinjani, who claimed to be Safi Mirza, 1 
arrived at the Turkish capital and was well received by the Porte, although 
denounced as an imposter by the Persian Minister. Early in April, 
1730, rumours reached Constantinople of Ashraf s defeat and flight • 
later in the same month the Sultan received Tahmasp’s letter officially 
informing him of the recapture of Isfahan and demanding back the pro- 
vinces which Turkey had seized. In June Rida Quli Khan Shamlu 
reached Constantinople and repeated this demand, threatening war if the 
Porte refused to comply. 2 Nevertheless, negotiations were entered into, 
and a treaty was signed which, so far as can be gathered, provided for 
the return of the occupied territory to Persia and for the payment by her of 
an annual sum to Turkey to reimburse the latter for the expense to which 
she had been put. 3 

Nadir decided not to wait until an answer could be received from 
the Porte to the above-mentioned letter and the message sent through 
Rida Quli Khan. Leaving Shiraz on the 1 8th Sha'ban, 1142 (8th 
March, 1730), he marched to Dizful via Basht, Behbehan, Ram Hormuz 
and Shushtar. At Dizful he received Muhammad Khan Baluch, whom 
Ashraf had sent as Ambassador to Constantinople in 1727. Muhammad 
Khan Baluch had left Constantinople on his return journey in September, 
1729 ; learning en route of Ashraf s overthrow and flight, he decided, 
after some hesitation, 4 to hand over to Nadir the letters which the Sultan 
had entrusted to him for delivery to Ashraf. Nadir rewarded Muhammad 
Khan Baluch by making him Governor of Kuhgilu. 

From Burujird Nadir made a night march to Nihavand, where he sur- 
prised and defeated the Turkish garrison ; he followed up this success 
by putting to flight a strong Turkish force at Malayir. 5 On or about 


This man was the second pretender to the Persian throne to pose as §afi Mirza. The first 
(see p. 13 above) had been killed some three years before. Muhammad ‘Ali had reached 
bhushtar, in darvish garb, in August, 1729, when he gave himself out to be Safi Mirza, thereby 
claiming the throne. Although he managed to collect some followers from among the towns- 
people, the Governor of Shushtax forced him to fly across the Turkish frontier. The local 
turkish authorities sent the supposititious Safi Mirza on to Constantinople, as they thought 
ttat his presence there might be of use. Stanyan, in a despatch dated the 6th /17th February, 
cl™ Mj rza s arrival, and added : " It is thought the Port {sic) will make 

(ST> 97 s Vo^TxVI*) adjUstment of matters with whoever (sic) shall remain King of Persia." 

* See p. 43 above. 

! ftanyan, 2nd /13th July, S.P. 97, Vol. XXVI. 

See ilTif °l the c? th J une / IO ( th MY- * 73 ° from the Earl of Kinnoull (who had just 
Abraham Stanyan as Ambassador at Constantinople), S.P. 97, Vol. XXVI. 

7 & Earl of Kinnoull, had been created a peer of Great Britain on the 31st 
see Dnmfia Fc® *l a Y of Pedwardine : for particulars of his earner, 

• T.v f pp 7 8 5 and^6 ^ °f Scotland (Edinburgh, 1813), Vol. II, pp. 48 and 49, and the D.N.B.) 



NADIR’S FIRST TURKISH CAMPAIGN 


49 


the 1 8th June, he occupied Hamadan 1 without meeting with an y 
opposition, the Turkish commander and the garrison having hurriedly 
retreated to Sinandij and thence to Baghdad. Nadir remained for 
a month at Hamadan, during which time detachments of his army 
reoccupied the province of Ardalan and regained Kirmanshah. On the 
ist Muharram, 1143 (17th July), he left Hamadan with the object of 
driving the Turks out of Adharbaijan. 2 

Meanwhile, news of Nadir’s aggressive movements had reached 
Constantinople, and on the 24th July the Porte formally declared war on 
Persia. Notwithstanding this declaration of war and the extensive 
preparations that were being made, Ibrahim Pasha, the pacific Grand 
Vizier, sent an envoy to the Shah to urge the latter to accept the 
treaty signed on his behalf by Rida Quli Khan. Simultaneously, Ibrahim 
Pasha sent orders to Ahmad Pasha of Baghdad to make every effort to 
arrive at an understanding with Persia. 3 These attempts , to achieve a 
peaceful settlement were frustrated by Nadir’s vigorous offensive measures. 

Marching via Sinandij (where he received word from Husain Sultan of 
Ashraf’s death), 4 Nadir sought to attack a strong Turkish concentration 
of troops 5 at Miyanduab, between Dimdim and Maragha. The Turks, 
according to Mirza Mahdi, set out from Miyanduab to oppose him, but, 
on sighting his forces, fled towards Maragha before a shot had been fired. 
He pursued the Turks for over 20 miles, killing and capturing large 
numbers and seizing all their artillery and baggage. 6 In consequence 
of this success, the districts of Dimdim, Saujbulagh, Mukri and Maragha 
were restored to Persia. 

After spending two days at Maragha, Nadir marched north-eastwards 
towards Deh Khariqan, a village near the shore of Lake Urumiya, where 
there was a small Turkish force. These Turks retreated to Tabriz, 
where a serious mutiny broke out almost immediately after their arrival. 
Many Turkish officers were killed by the mutineers, who then expelled 
the loyalists, under Mustafa Pasha, the commander-in-chief. On the 
morning after the disturbance, the Turkish mutineers marched out of the 
city, and both they and the loyal Turks were attacked by Nadir’s forces. 
While the mutineers escaped to Erzeroum, Mustafa Pasha and his men 
were routed near Suhailan, between Tabriz and Sufian. 7 

1 T.N., p. 78. 

* Ibid., p. 78. Before leaving Hamadan, Nadir took a fal or augury from Hafiz ; tbis/flJ turned 

out to be very apt, for it read : ' Iraq va Fars girifti bi-shi' r-i-khush Haft?, bi-S Uh naubai-i- 
Baghdad va vaqt-i-Tabriz ast. " Thou hast token 'Iraq and Fars with thy fine poetry, 
Hafiz ; come, for it is (now) the turn of Baghdad and of Tabriz.” 

* See Lord Kinnoull’s despatch of the 24th July /4th August, S.P. 97, Vol. XXVI. 

* See p. 45 above. 

‘ The local garrison had been reinforced by the arrival of strong contingents under Timur Pasha,, 
the Governor of Van, and 'Ali Rida Pasha, the Governor of Mukri. 

* T.N., p. 79. ’ 7 Ibid., p. 80. 

E 



NADIR SHAH 


5 ° 

On the following day (12th August) Nadir entered Tabriz. Another 
Turkish army, under Rustam Pasha, of Hashtarud, not knowing of the 
defeat of Mustafa Pasha, now approached Tabriz with the object of 
reinforcing him. Rustam Pasha did not discover his mistake until it 
was too late, for Nadir hastened from Tabriz and inflicted a crushing 
defeat upon his force, capturing him and many of his officers. Nadir, 
it is said, treated Rustam Pasha kindly, set him and the other Turkish 
officers free and sent, through their intermediary, proposals of peace to the 
Grand Vizier. 1 

In August reports of further Persian successes were received at Con- 
stantinople. A tense situation began to develop between Turkey and 
Russia, since the former suspected that the latter was secretly lending 
assistance to Persia. As a matter of fact there were definite grounds for 
these suspicions, because General Levashev, having received authorisation 
from St. Petersburg, sent several of his artillery and engineer officers, 
disguised as Persians, to assist a Persian force which was besieging 
Ardabil. 2 Levashev himself acted as intermediary for the surrender of 
the town which, after the Turkish evacuation, was held by Russia for a 
time. 3 

The news of Nadir’s successes made a profound impression in Mesopo- 
tamia and Syria ; the Chevalier de Gardane, who left Isfahan for France 
towards the end of May, 1730, and travelled through those countries, 
found that : 

“ depuis Basra jusqu’k Bagdad, et depuis Bagdad jusqu’aux portes d’Alep, tout 
tremble au seul nom de Tahmas-Couli-Kan.” 4 

The Grand Vizier, who was under orders to take the field against 
Persia, lingered at Scutari, hoping that the diplomatic measures which he 
had taken would render it unnecessary for him to leave with the army 
for the front. September, however, brought the news of the Persian 
recapture of Hamadan, Kirmanshah and Tabriz, and of the mutiny 
that had preceded the evacuation of the last-named city. News also 
reached the capital that the Tabriz mutineers were approaching and that 
another mutiny had taken place at Erzeroum. 

1 T.N., p. 81. Mirza Mahdi here states incorrectly that it was at this time (i2th-i6th August) 
that Nadir heard of the deposition of Sultan Ahmad III, the accession of Mahmud his brother 
and the killing of Ibra him , Pasha the Grand Vizier ; these events did not occur until 
the end of September, 1730. 

* Manstein, Mimowes Historiques, Politiques et Militaires sur La Russia, Lyons, 1772, Vol. I, 

p. 96- Friction had already developed between the two powers because of incidents in 
Shirvan, where Cholaq Surkai Khan (whom the Turks had made Khan of Shaxnakhi in 1728) 
had been pursuing an aggressive policy towards Russia. 

* Levashev obtained a safe conduct for the Turkish garrison which was thus enabled to reach 

Shamakhi. 

1 La Mamye-Clairac, Vol. Ill, p. 108. 



NADIR’S FIRST TURKISH CAMPAIGN 


5i 


The enemies of Ibrahim Pasha alleged that the fall of Tabriz was due 
to instructions which he had issued to Mustafa Pasha, and pressed for his 
immediate despatch to the front, hoping that he would fail ignominiously 
and be disgraced. 

The gathering discontent in Constantinople suddenly found expression 
in the rising led by the Albanian Patrona Khalil on the 28th September ; 
owing to the weakness and irresolution of the Sultan and his ministers, 
the rising rapidly attained dangerous proportions, and resulted in the 
death of the Grand Vizier, the deposition of Ahmad III, and the election 
to the throne of the latter’s nephew Mahmud, the son of Mustafa II. 
The Turkish Government, being thrown into a state of great confusion 
by this upheaval, abandoned all thought of continuing the war against 
Persia. 

As for Nadir, he had intended, after retaking Tabriz, to extend his 
conquests further, notwithstanding the fact that he had sent peace proposals 
to the Porte. The arrival of a courier from his son Rida Quli, who was 
then at Mashhad, with the news that civil war had broken out amongst the 
Abdalis, that the loyal element had been driven out of Herat, and that 
the rebels were marching on Mashhad, caused him to suspend operations 
against the Turks and to hasten off to Khurasan. No peace with Turkey 
was concluded, but a state of truce prevailed. 

The instigator of the Abdali revolt was Husain Sultan of Qandahar. 
As he had reason to fear that Nadir would in due course attack him, he 
dispatched emissaries to Herat early in 1730, in the hope of inciting the 
Abdalis to rise and so distract Nadir’s attention. 1 Allah Yar Khan, 
the Governor of Herat, remained loyal and rejected Hhisain Sultan’s 
proposal, but many of the Abdalis revolted, and sent for Dhu’l-Fiqar 
Khan, Allah Yar Khan’s old rival. Dhu’l-Fiqar, aided by the rebels in 
Herat, drove out Allah Yar Khan, and soon after marched on Mashhad, 
where Ibrahim Khan was in command. Allah Yar Khan, hearing of 
Dhu’l-Fiqar’s advance on Mashhad, hastened from Maruchaq (whither 
he had gone from Herat) to the assistance of Ibrahim Khan, and reached 
the city just before his rival camped at Khwaja Rabi‘. 

Although Nadir had given his brother strict orders not to take the 
offensive under such circumstances, Ibrahim Khan, after some days of 
inaction, yielded to the bolder spirits amongst his men. He sallied out, 
but was driven back with heavy loss 2 ; through shame at this reverse, 
Ibrahim did nothing further. It was at this juncture that Rida Quli 
sent the courier to his father with the news of what had occurred. 

Before leaving Adharbaijan, Nadir ordered between £0,000 and 60,000 


1 T.N., p. 82. 

* Ibid., p. 84 ; see also the history of Radi’u’d-Din Tafrjshi, BM. MS. Add 6787, fol. 187 (b). 



NADIR SHAH 


5 2 * * * * * 

families of tribespeople to be transferred from that province and from 
Persian ‘Iraq and Pars to Khurasan ; amongst these were 1 2,000 families 
of Afshars (including 2,000 of the Qiriqlu branch) ; these Qiriqlu were 
sent to the district round Kubkan and the other Afshars to Kalat. 

Nadir left Tabriz for Mashhad on the 16th August ; on reaching the 
Qizil Uzan, he received a further message from Rida Quli that the Abdalis, 
after spending a month in the neighbourhood of Mashhad, had returned 
to Herat. There being no such pressing need for haste, Nadir turned 
aside from Tehran, marched through Mazandaran and Astarabad, crossed 
the Atrak and attempted in vain to overtake and punish some Yamut 
rebels. He thereupon returned to Astarabad, whence he marched up 
the Gurgan valley and through Simalqan to Mashhad, where he arrived 
on the nth November. 

Great celebrations were held in the city in the following January when 
Nadir’s eldest son, Rida Quli, was married to Fatima Sultan Begum, 
to whom, as already stated, 1 he had been betrothed. 2 A great hunting 
party was then organised in the neighbourhood of Kalat and Abivard. 

When Dhu’l-Fiqar Abdali heard of Nadir’s arrival at Mashhad and 
of the preparations that were being made for the forthcoming campaign, 
he appealed to Husain Sultan, of Qandahar, for aid. Husain Sultan 
came in person to Isfaraz, where he met Dhu’l-Fiqar, but, for some un- 
recorded reason, they failed to agree. Husain Sultan then entered into 
negotiations with Nadir, and handed over two Safavi princesses in exchange 
for Mahmud’s widows and children and some other persons. Soon 
afterwards Husain Sultan patched up his differences with Dhu’l-Fiqar, 
to whom he sent a force of between 2,000 and 3,000 men under the cele- 
brated Ghalz'ai general, Muhammad Saidal Khan. 

In order to render it difficult, if not impossible, for Husain Sultan to 
assist the Abdalis, Nadir sent word to ‘Abdullah Khan Brahoi, who had 
been made Governor of Baluchistan, to attack Qandahar from the south. 
‘Abdullah Khan, however, could not obey these instructions, as he was 
then engaged in a struggle with Miyan Nur Muhammad Khudayar Khan, 
the Kalhora chief of Sind. 8 In a battle between the two at Gandava, 
‘Abdullah Khan was killed. 

Leaving Mashhad immediately after the Nau Ruz festivities, Nadir 

1 Seep. 42 above. 

* The jnaxnage contract, together with a preamble, is quoted in the Durra-yi-N adira, but not in 

the T.N. ; it is reproduced in Schefer’s Chrestomathie Per saw, Vol. II, pp. 232-237. 

' Miyan Nur Muhammad, the son of Na§ir Muhammad, the chief of Sind, succeeded his father in 

l 7 °°i |f- I 7 I 7- having sworn fealty to the Mughal Emperor, he was given the tilde 

2 : -Khudayar Khan. See T. Postans, Personal Observation on Sind, London, 1843, p. 168. 

• awj 11 states, in his Travels in Beloochistan and Sinde, London, 1876, p. 278, that 

Abdullah Khan was the aggressor, having seized part of Khudayar Khan's territory. 
See also Leech in J.R.A.S., Vol. XII, pp. 483 and 484. 



NADIR’S SUBJECTION OF THE ABDALIS 53 

inarched via Turuq and Turbat-i-Shaikh Jam to Nuqra, a small place 
seven miles west of Herat. A few days later, the Abdalis emerged from 
the city, and an indecisive battle was fought. That night Muhammad 
Saidal Khan, the Ghalzai general, made a surprise attack on the Persians 
and placed Nadir himself in great jeopardy. Nadir, with only eight men, 
was surrounded in a small tower for some time. Eventually, the Afghans 
were repelled, and he was relieved. 1 On the following day he made an 
unsuccessful attack on the Afghans who were holding the Takht-i-Safar, 
a garden on the lower slopes of the Kuh-i-Mulla Khwaja, three and a half 
miles N.N.W. of Herat. He was more successful a few days later when 
he met and heavily defeated Dhu’l-Fiqar outside the city. At this stage, 
Allah Yar Khan arrived from Maruchaq with reinforcements. 

On the 4th May, Nadir decided to invest Herat on every side : leaving 
a strong force at Nuqra, he crossed to the south side of the Hari Rud and 
marched towards the bridge of Malan, three miles south of Herat. The 
Afghans attempted to stem his progress, but he hurled them back with 
severe loss, and on the following day he succeeded in seizing the bridge. 

Whilst Nadir was at Malan the Abdali artillerymen, having noticed 
his magnificent tent, opened fire on it. A cannon shot destroyed the roof 
of the tent and struck the ground by the side of his couch, but fortunately 
left him unscathed. 2 

When Nadir’s forces were completing the encirclement of Herat, 
Saidal Khan, with a force of Ghalzais and Abdalis, made a sortie, but 
was driven back with heavy loss. 3 The encircling line was then drawn 
tighter round the city. 

During the course of these operations, a Persian detachment carried 
out a successful raid on Maimana and Chachaktu, but a larger force, 
which had been sent against Farah, met with disaster. 4 

On the 17th Muharram, 1144 (22nd July), Dhu’l-Fiqar emerged from 
Herat with a large body of men and crossed the Hari Rud. Nadir at 
once sent troops to cut off the Afghans, while he delivered a frontal attack 
upon them. The Afghans were completely defeated, and Dhu’l-Fiqar 
narrowly escaped being drowned in the river. Saidal Khan, having 
become discouraged at this defeat and at the heavy casualties sustained 
by his Ghalzais, secretly left Herat one night and marched to Farah. 
The defeat inflicted by Nadir and the defection of Saidal caused the Abdali 
chiefs to make peace overtures through Allah Yar Khan, which Nadir 
accepted. The Abdalis, however, broke faith, thinking that the dust 
raised by an approaching Persian force under Ibrahim Khan was that 
of a relieving army from Qandahar. Nadir, in anger, ordered a renewal 
of hostilities, but the Abdalis, realising their error, humbly begged for 

1 T.N., p. 92. * Ibid., p. 94. * Ibid. * Ibid., p. 97. 



NADIR SHAH 


5 4 

forgiveness and asked for Allah Yar Khan to be made Governor of Herat. 
Nadir once more acceded to their request. 

Dhu’l-Fiqar, who with his younger brother Ahmad had been exiled 
to Farah, joined forces with Saidal Khan at Isfaraz. On the strength of 
this news and of the rumoured approach of 40,000 Ghalzais, Allah Yar 
Khan, in September, renounced his allegiance to Nadir, sent out raiding 
parties to Badghis and elsewhere, and made an unsuccessful attack on the 
Persian forces. Nadir, in retaliation, seized Allah Yar’s family at 
Maruchaq. At the end of December the Abdalis made fresh proposals 
of peace, but withdrew them again immediately after these had been 
accepted ; Nadir, in great anger, vigorously renewed the siege operations, 
with the result that, on 1st Ramadan (27th February, 1732) Allah Yar 
Khan finally surrendered, and the Persian army at last occupied Herat. 
Nadir exiled Allah Yar Khan and his companions to Multan, and trans- 
ferred 60,000 Abdalis’ to the districts of Mashhad, Nishapur and 
Damghan. 1 By thus transferring these Abdalis to Khurasan, he added 
materially to the already considerable concentration there of tribespeople 
of good fighting qualities (he had previously, as stated on page 52 above, 
sent 60,000 families of Afshars and other tribes to that province). 

During the latter part of the siege of Herat, Ibrahim Khan had been 
investing Farah, which, despite the arrival of Saidal with 2,000 Ghalzais, 
he eventually took. Nadir set out from Herat on the 19 th Ramadan with 
the intention of going to Farah, but returned almost at once on receipt 
of the news of Tahmasp’s defeat by the Turks at Kurijan and of his conclu- 
sion of peace with them. 2 

The siege of Herat had occupied, in all, some ten months. The most 
remarkable feature of this siege was Nadir’s clemency, despite the repeated 
tergiversations of the Abdalis. He was, apparently, determined to win 
them over by a display of moderation. He may already have conceived 
tiie idea (which he afterwards put into practice) of building up a non- 
Persian (and non-Shi ‘a) army upon which he could wholly depend under 
any circumstances. He doubtless felt that, being a Turk and an upstart, 
he could not rely absolutely upon the loyalty of his Persian troops in the 
event of a find trial of strength with Tahmasp. He had already enrolled 
a number of Turkomans in his ranks ; with the addition to his forces of a 
large contingent of such excellent fighters as the Abdalis, he would 
obviously be much less dependent upon the goodwill of his Persian 


X Z.T„ fol. 215 (b). 

* T,N '' P- 10 4- See PP- 56 and 57 below, for details of these events. 



CHAPTER VI 


Tahmasp’s Disastrous Turkish Campaign and his Subsequent 

Deposition 


Whilst Nadir was conducting his campaign against the Turks, Tahmasp 
remained in Isfahan. On receiving news of Nadir’s hurried dash to 
Khurasan to counter the threatened Abdali attack on Mashhad, the 
Shah and his ministers, according to Muhammad Muhsin, gave them- 
selves up to their pleasures, as in former times. 1 After spending several 
months in this fashion, Tahmasp was induced by some of his ministers 
and nobles to put himself at the head of his troops and to set out against 
the Turks, with the object of driving them out of the territory in the 
north-west of Persia, which they still held. 2 Tahmasp was no doubt 
persuaded that he would be able to complete the operations so successfully 
begun by Nadir, and so reap all the credit himself. 

With this end in view, Tahmasp left Isfahan in January, 1731 ; on 
reaching Hamadan, he sent an envoy to congratulate Mahmud, the new 
Sultan, on his accession, and also dispatched an emissary to Surkhai Khan 
at Shamakhi. Surkhai demonstrated his loyalty to the Porte by decapi- 
tating the unfortunate emissary and his suite and sending their heads to 
Constantinople. 8 

From Hamadan Tahmasp went to Tabriz where he dismissed the 
Governor (whom Nadir had appointed), and replaced him by one of his 
partisans ; he then marched against Nakhichevan and Erivan with a 
force of 1 8,000 men. 4 

By this time Turkey had somewhat recovered from the paralysing effect 
of the revolution in the previous September. As Rida Quli Khan, the 
Persian Ambassador at Constantinople, had received no reply from 
Isfahan to the communications which he had sent regarding the peace 
treaty, the Porte ordered its commanders on the Persian frontier to be 
on their guard, and granted Ahmad Pasha, of Baghdad, full powers to 
make peace or to wage war. In March, 1731, Rida Quli Khan left Con- 
stantinople for Baghdad, but he was imprisoned at Mardin on the news 
being received of Tahmasp’s advance on Erivan. 


1 Z.T., fol. 215 (a). 

* Von Hammer, Vol. XIV, p. 254. Mirza Mahdi {T.N., p. 105) merely says that Tahmasp took 

this action “ in imitation of Nadir." 

* Von Hammer, Vol. XIV, p. 252. 

4 T.N., p. 105. . 



NADIR SHAH 


At the outset of the campaign, fortune seemed to favour Tahmasp’s 
arms. The Turks evacuated Nakhichevan and fell back on Erivan. 
Leaving Erivan unattacked, the Shah marched on north-eastwards to 
Echmiadzin, where he encountered and defeated a Turkish force. 1 He 
then faced round and attempted to take Erivan by assault. The garrison 
repulsed Tahmasp’s troops who thereupon invested the town. After 
the siege had been in progress for eighteen days, news was received 
that another Turkish force had cut- off the Persians’ supplies. The Shah 
was, therefore, obliged to raise the siege and retire to Tabriz : he was 
unable to halt long there, however, because he learnt that ‘Ali Pasha, the 
commander of the Turkish forces at Erivan, was advancing from that 
town, and that Ahmad Pasha was marching on Persian ‘Iraq. He accord- 
ingly left Tabriz for Abhar. 

Meanwhile, Ahmad Pasha, having met with no resistance, speedily 
captured Kirmanshah, overran the whole of Ardalan, and then advanced 
towards Hamadan. Tahmasp hastened south to avert the danger to 
Hamadan, and halted near the village of Kurijan, 20 miles N.E. of that 
town. Ahmad Pasha had by this time approached to within two stages 
of the Persian army, and sent an envoy with proposals of peace to Tahmasp; 
the latter dispatched an envoy in return. While a further Turkish envoy 
was on his way to Tahmasp, Ahmad Pasha’s army advanced in battle 
order, but apparently without intending to fight. Thinking that he was 
about to be attacked, Tahmasp, in alarm, gave the order for his men to 
open fire on the Turks. They obeyed, and the battle began before the 
second Turkish envoy could deliver his message to the Shah. The 
Persian cavalry charged through the Turkish horse three times, and it 
seemed as if Tahmasp would win an easy victory. The Janissaries, 
however, overwhelmed the Persian infantry, who were mostly raw militia- 
men, and then defeated the Persian cavalry. Tahmasp, with 3,000 men, 
was almost surrounded, and only escaped with difficulty. Several thou- 
sands of his men lost their lives, and most of those who survived were so 
discouraged that they dispersed to their homes. The Turks captured 
all Tahmasp’s baggage and artillery. 2 John Horne, the Agent at Gom- 
broon, was of opinion that if Ahmad Pasha had marched on Isfahan 
directly after gaining this victory, he would easily have taken it. However, 
he contented himself with taking Hamadan. 3 

The Shah returned to Isfahan after this disaster ; according to 


' Dutror-yi-N adira, p. no ; Z.T., fol. 215 (a). 

* aSSS+SJt JS® ba ^ 1 t °J based mainly on a letter from John Horne, the Gombroon 

th V^/ 2 ^ th l y[arc . h ' 173? (Vol. XV of the Persia and the Persian 
it at v, I* a £ rees .closely with Mirza Mahdi's version of what occurred 

* TrtiL ‘rr« . Ic ^ ii kutissomewhat fuller. See also von Hammer, Vol. XIV, p. 254. 

* John Home’s letter of the i5th/26th March. ' F 54 



TAHMASP’S DISASTROUS TURKISH CAMPAIGN 57 

Muframmad Muhsin, he then gave himself up to pleasures and festivities 
to such an extent that “ one would say that no defeat had occurred.” 1 
In this brief, but disastrous campaign, Tahmasp lost the greater part of 
the territories that Nadir had regained for him. Ahmad Pasha, after 
his victory, retook Hamadan and occupied Abhar, while ‘AH Pasha, 
marching via Khoi, Salmas and the southern end of Lake Urumiya, cap- 
tured Maragha and Tabriz. In the south, another Turkish force invaded 
Khuzistan, and took Hawiza. 

Peace negotiations were then opened, which resulted, on the 10th 
January, 1732, in the conclusion of a treaty between Tahmasp and the 
Turks on the basis that the former was to retain all the provinces which 
Nadir had recaptured south and east of the Aras, together with Tabriz, 
while Turkey was to hold Ganja, Tiflis, Erivan, Nakhichevan, the Georgian 
kingdoms of Kakheti and Kartli, and part of Shirvan and Daghistan. 
The handing back of Tabriz to Persia was very unpopular in Turkey, 
but the Government was convinced that it was better to conclude a speedy 
peace, at the price of Tabriz, than to protract the negotiations by insisting 
upon its retention ; it feared that, if it adopted the latter course, it would 
soon be confronted with the forceful Nadir in place of the feeble Tahmasp. 
The Grand Vizier, who was the chivalrous and distinguished general 
Topal ‘Osman Pasha, 2 believed that war with Persia was contrary to the true 
interests of Turkey, and was mainly responsible for the decision of the 
Porte to confirm the treaty ; the Sultan, however, like several of his 
ministers and many of his subjects, disapproved of its terms. Unfor- 
tunately for Topal ‘Osman, he had made a mortal enemy of the aged, but 
still very influential Hajji Bashir Agha, the Qizlar Agha, who was on the 
look-out for a pretext to bring about his fall 3 ; he had already made — 
and unmade — a number of Grand Viziers. At the beginning of March, 
1732, Topal ‘Osman gave the Qizlar Agha and his other enemies the open- 
ing for which they had been waiting when he became involved in a quarrel 
with Lord Kinnoull, the British Ambassador, to whom he behaved with 
great rudeness. 4 This affair, in which Topal ‘Osman did not play a very 
creditable part, provided the astute Qizlar Agha with a pretext for per- 

3 Z.T.,to\. 215(b). 

3 Topal ‘Osman, who was bom in 1692, was of Greek extraction. For details of his adventurous 

career, see in particular A. de Claustre’s Histoire de Thamas-Koulihan (Paris, 1743 ). PP* 22 5 " 
247 (Hanway appears to have derived his information from this source.). 

9 The post of Grand Vizier was often unenviable and even dangerous. In the M 6 mom pour 
seruir d' instruction ctu Marquis de VUlenewve (which was given to the Manjuis in ^August, 
1728, before he left France to take up his duties at Constantinople), it was said : " . • • la 
place de vizir, si &ev6, est environn6 de tous c 6 t 4 s de precipices . . ” (This Mimotre is 
in the Turkish section of the Archives des Affaires Etrangfcres, Paris.) 

4 Von Hammer does not display his usual accuracy in describing this incident. I have en- 

deavoured to set forth the facts (which are very curious) in an article which I contributed to 
the Journal of the R.C.A.S. in October, 1936 (Vol. XXIII, Part IV). 



NADIR SHAH 




suading the Sultan to dismiss him 1 ; he was then virtually exiled to 
Trebizondj of which place he was made Governor. He was subsequently 
made Governor of Erzeroum and later of Erivan. 

‘All Pasha fiakimoghlu succeeded Topal ‘Osman Pasha as Grand 
Vizier. The fall of Topal ‘Osman served to allay popular feeling, but no 
attempt was made to abrogate the Persian treaty ; as will be seen below, 
it was not long before Nadir rendered any such action by Turkey un- 
necessary. 

Almost simultaneously with the conclusion of the Turco-Persian 
treaty, the treaty of Resht was signed by Russia and Persia. In October, 
1730, the Empress Anna Ivanovna, alarmed at the heavy mortality from 
fever and plague of the Russian troops in Gilan, sent a letter to Tahmasp 
in which she laid down the principles on which Russia would evacuate 
that province. 2 In the following April her Ambassador, Baron Shafirov, 
arrived at Resht in order to negotiate, in company with General Levashev, 
a treaty with the Persians embodying these principles. In consequence 
of Tahmasp’s Turkish campaign, these negotiations were much inter- 
rupted, and it was not until the 1st February, 1732, that the treaty of 
Resht was signed. 3 Russia agreed to return to Persia, within the 
space of five months, all the territories occupied by her save those 
to the north of the Kura ; these latter territories were to be held until 
the Turks were expelled from Armenia, Georgia and the other Persian 
provinces which they held. Freedom of trade was accorded to 
Russian merchants in Persia and to Persian merchants in Russia, and 
each power was to have a diplomatic representative at the court of the 
other. 4 

At this time a person claiming to be Isma‘il Mirza, a younger brother 
of Tahmasp, reached Isfahan. He had, he said, escaped from Mahmud’s 
clutches through the devotion of a servant, but had afterwards been cap- 
tured and mutilated by the first pretender to take the name of Safi Mirza. 6 
The man’s claims were investigated by the court, with the’ result that 
Tahmasp accepted him as his brother. Soon after, some of the ministers 
and eunuchs, and, it is said, even several of Tamasp’s women, plotted 
to depose the Shah and to replace him by I$ma‘il. The plot was dis— 


1 Topal 'Osman’s dismissal was a severe blow to France, because he had always been extremely 
Francophile ; during his tenure of the post of Grand Vizier he and the Marquis de Villeneuve 
had worked very closely and harmoniously together ; in fact, as A. Vandal has remarked : 

Jamais la France n’avait pdndtrd plus avant dans les conseils de la Porte "(Une Ambassade 
frayaise en Orient sous Louis XV. La Mission du Marquis de Villeneuve. 1728-1741 (Paris. 

I887), p. X72. ’ ll ' TV 

* See Butkov, Vol. I, p. 106. 

* \i°i, >f. e ® ^ so fh®. despatch of the 7th/i8th October, 1732, from Claudius Rondeau, 
the British Munster at St. Petersburg, S.P. 91, Vol. XIII. 

* Butkov, Vol. I, p. 1 13. 

‘Seep. 13 above. 



TAHMASP’S DISASTROUS TURKISH CAMPAIGN $ 9 . 

covered by Tahmasp, who immediately put Isma'il and his fellow- 
conspirators to death. 1 

It is not surprising that Nadir was indignant when he heard of Tahmasp’s 
disaster and of the terms of the treaty with Turkey which followed it. 
The news reached him when he was on the march from Herat to Farah. 2 
Abandoning the expedition, he hastened back to Herat, whence he sent 
word to the Sultan of Turkey that he must either relinquish all the Persian 
occupied territory or prepare for war 8 ; he simultaneously informed 
Ahmad Pasha, by courier, that he would shortly be advancing on Baghdad, 
and bade him prepare for his reception. 4 

Having thus notified the Turks of his intentions, Nadir made his 
attitude plain to his own countrymen. After sending a strongly-worded 
message to the Shah’s ministers, upbraiding them for their conduct in 
the matter of the peace treaty, he issued a remarkable manifesto to the 
“ headmen, peoples and nobles of the kingdom,” in which he called upon 
them all to know that, with divine aid, his sword had conquered cities 
and provinces, the Persian armies had been victorious, the Abdalis, having 
been defeated, were now well-disposed, and the Ghalzais had been subdued. 
He then referred to the peace treaty, saying : 

" Verily this peace is, in the eyes of wisdom, naught but a picture upon water 
and a mere mirage (sarab) ; its fundamental object, namely, the deliverance of 
the Persian prisoners, was not accomplished, this important matter not being in- 
cluded in the treaty. . . . We wish to remove the evilness of transgressors from 
among Moslems and to cleanse the kingdom of all sources of evil. . . . The bear- 
ing of such a matter is far from honour and is repugnant to a proud nature. Since 
the frontiers (as laid down in the treaty) are contrary to the pleasure of the Divine 
Being and are opposed to what is expedient for the kingdom ... we therefore did 
not sign (i.e. accept) it. . . .” 

He went on to say that, after the ‘Idu’l-Fitr (end of March, 1732) he 
would at once make war and would attain his object stage by stage, and 
concluded by stating that whoever did not join him would be : 

" deprived of the attributes of honour and of the share of the bliss of the religious ; 
his recompense shall be the curse of Allah and he shall be cast out from the com- 
munity of Islam and numbered with the hosts of the Kharijites.” 5 

It was evidently at this time that Nadir sent the letter to Muhammad 

1 T.N., p. 107. Cockell, in reporting this plot and its outcometo Gombroon, referred to Isma'il 
as a pretender ( Gombroon Diary, 9th /20th May), but Mirza Mahdi regarded his claim as 
genuine. 

* See p. 54 above. 

* T.N., p. xo8, von Hammer, Vol. XIV, p. 283, Asiatick Researches, Vol. X, p. 536. 

* T.N., p. 108. Lord Kinnoull on the 3rd /14th June, announced the receipt at Constantinople 

of ‘‘very surprising news ” from Ahmad Pasha, who had received a letter full of threats from 
Nadir. S.P. 97. Vol. XXVI. 

* The full text of the manifesto is given in the T.N., pp. 108-110. A verse from Haft? is incorrectly 

quoted by Mirza Mahdi. 



€o NADIR SHAH 

“Ali Khan, the Beglarbegi of Fars, which Sir John Malcolm has translated 
in Asiatick Researches . 1 

In this letter Nadir denounced the Turkish treaty, and, in referring 
to his victories, spoke of “ the happy auspices of the House of Haidar 
(‘Ali) and the twelve holy Imams.” He went on to say : * “ This day is 
"big with ruin to their enemies and with joy to the sect of the Shiah, the 
discomfiture of the evil-minded is the glory ... of the followers of 
“Ali.” He concluded by announcing his intention of resuming the 
Turkish war after the ‘Idu’I-Fitr, and requesting the Beglarbegi to proceed 
to Isfahan and point out to the Shah why the treaty could not be respected. 

In all probability it was Mirza Mahdi who drafted the manifesto and 
the above letter. 

Although Nadir stigmatised the treaty to such an extent, it was not, 
however, so unfavourable to Persia as it might, under the circumstances, 
have been ; in fact, as stated above, its provisions were regarded in Turkey 
as being definitely derogatory to that country. 

Although it must have been galling to Nadir to see some of the fruits 
•of his victories sacrificed by reason of Tahmasp’s folly and incompetence, 
there can be but little doubt that, in reality, any annoyance which he felt 
•on this score was outweighed by his satisfaction at being given such an 
opportunity for arraigning the Shah. He, in fact, could not have hoped 
for a better opening. The terms of his manifesto and of his letter to 
Muhammad ‘Ali Khan show that he was expecting some opposition to 
the renewal of the Turkish war, and that he was determined to brook no 
interference from anyone. In fact, it is not going too far to say that his 
words were intended more as a challenge to Tahmasp and his supporters 
than as a threat to the Turks . 2 His references to the twelve Imams 
and his apparent championing of the Shi‘a cause are of interest. It is 
difficult to believe, at this stage, that his words were inspired by any 
genuine enthusiasm for, and belief in, the Shi'a faith ; it seems much more 
probable that he merely wished to excite and utilise Shi‘a fanaticism for 
his own political ends ; so long as the Shi‘a ladder was of use to him in 
his upward progress, he would not kick it away. By wording his mani- 
festo and letter as he did, Nadir aimed at rallying the majority of the 
^is a g a i n st the Sunni enemy, and also at discrediting Tahmasp, 
If Tahmasp s followers refused to go to war against Turkey, they would 
be denounced as heretics ; if they acquiesced in Nadir’s policy, they would 
be acting against the wishes of their sovereign, and lowering his prestige. 

After spending Nau Ruz at Herat, Nadir went to Mashhad whence 
e sent Hasan Ali Beg to Isfahan to give Tahmasp a further explanation 




TAHMASP’S DISASTROUS TURKISH CAMPAIGN 61 

of his reasons for not accepting the treaty, and to request the Shah to meet 
him at Qum or Tehran in order to march jointly against the Turks. 1 
With the object of strengthening his position, Nadir dismissed many 
provincial governors and replaced them with his own nominees. 

Whilst at Mashhad, Nadir appointed an Abdali leader named ‘Abdu’l- 
Ghani ‘Ali Kuza’i 2 * 4 Governor of the tribe, and rewarded many other chiefs- 
of that tribe ; he then ordered them to be ready with horses, arms and 
provisions for the march to Persian ‘Iraq. Having given orders for the 
circumambulation ( tawaj ) of the shrine of the Imam Rida and for the 
Imam’s intercession to be invoked, he marched via Khabushan to Jajarm y 
whence, with a small force, he made a swift, but unsuccessful, dash north- 
wards to the Balkhan Dagh against the Turkomans. Whilst on this, 
expedition he learnt that the Russians had completed their evacuation 
of Gilan. Rejoining his main army at Qusha (25 miles S.W. of Damghan), 
he went to Tehran, where he distributed the large sum of 50,000 tomans. 
(,£i 10,000) to his followers for the repair and renewal of their equipment. 5 
In the light of after-events, there can be no doubt that this lavish donation 
was in the nature of a bribe to the soldiery. It appears that Nadir had 
intended to march from Tehran via Farahan against the Turks, as already 
stated, he had sent a message to Tahmasp requesting him to join him either 
at Tehran or Qum. On Tahmasp refusing to leave Isfahan, Nadir 
marched straight to the capital, where he arrived on the 25th August.* 
There are several versions of what subsequently occurred, which, although 
identical in essentials, differ in points of detail. 

After Tahmasp and Nadir had exchanged ceremonial visits, the latter 
invited the Shah to a reception in the Hazarjarib garden. Nadir received 
Tahmasp with great respect, and conducted him to his private apartment- 
Thereupon Tahmasp : 

“ having summoned, as was customary, the lords and nobles of the state, expressed 
a desire for wine and musicians and called for the instruments of pleasure and the 
makers of joy (arbab-i-tarab). The Highness-with-the-rank-of-Alexander (Nadir)- 

1 T.N., p. in. 

* He had been a partisan of Dhu’l-Fiqar, but had subsequently submitted to Nadir. See Sayyid 
Muhammad al-Musawi, op. tit., fol. 7 (a). 

' T.N., p. 1 1 4. 

4 Ibid. Mirza Mahdi adds that Tahmasp was acting in collusion with Ahmad Pasha, of Baghdad- 
but this is an exaggeration. What actually occurred is that Tahmasp wrote to Ahmad Pasha 
in regard to the threatened renewal of the war with Turkey, and excused himself by saying 
that he had no power “ to govern Tamas Kuli Khan who with his victorious Army has power 
to do what he pleases, and will do what he pleases.” Lord Kinnoull, who sent the gist of this 
letter to London, in his despatch of the 3rd /14th June, 1732 (S.P. 97, Vol. XXVI), added : 
" but this is only a political excuse in the Schah for breaking his last Treaty of peace with 
the Grand Sigr.” Cockell reported to Gombroon on the 8th /19th July that Nadir intended 
" to break the peace with the Turks which His Majesty is entirely averse to, but to no purpose- 
having no power to Prevent his arbitrary Proceeding ” (Gombroon Diary, 4th /15th August- 

1732). 



6 2 


NADIR SHAH 


out of politeness, respect, and hospitality, obeyed, and prepared everything . . . 
and for three days and three nights His Majesty, in company with the worthless 
nobles, was occupied with drinking and pleasure. All the chiefs, cavalry leaders 
and c omman ders of the armies of ' Iraq and Khurasan obtained complete informa- 
tion as to what occurred His Majesty became intoxicated .” 1 

Nadir convened a great conference ( kingash ) of the Qizilbash and leaders, 
where the unsuitability of Tahmasp for his exalted position was em- 
phasized. The people of Isfahan were then called upon to witness the 
condition of the Shah ; thereupon, it is said, 2 all agreed to his deposition 
and the elevation of his infant son ‘Abbas to the throne. There 
is no mention in the Ta’rikh-i-Nadiri of the Shah’s drunkenness, 
but there seems, nevertheless, no reason to doubt not only that he took 
too much drink on this occasion, but that Nadir deliberately encouraged 
him to do so. 8 The whole episode has the appearance of having been 
carefully planned beforehand. 4 

Cockell reported to Gombroon 5 on the 19th /30th September that 
Nadir had proclaimed ‘Abbas Mirza as Shah : 

“ under pretence of his Father having forfeited the Crown by his Lazy Indolent 
Management and his being a Sott and a Sodomite. That this struck such a Terrour 
into the Nobility and Inhabitants that none had courage to oppose him. . . . 
Since which there has not been the least trouble and this unexpected Revolution 
has been brought to pass without any bloodshed.” 

According to Muhammad Muhsin’s version, Tahmasp’s deposition 
occurred six days after Nadir’s arrival in Isfahan, that is, on the 31st 
August, 1732 ; Cockell, however, states that Nadir seized and imprisoned 
Tahmasp on the 22nd August (2nd September, N.S.), and had ‘Abbas 
proclaimed Shah on the following day. 6 

Having successfully accomplished his coup d'etat , Nadir sent Tahmaspj®* 
together with his harem and attendants, to Mashhad under strong guard 
on the 5th September. 

It may well be asked why Nadir did not go one step further and mount 
the throne himself. Caution rather than modesty was doubtless the reason ; 
he was not blind to the fact that there was still a strong feeling of loyalty 
throughout the country to the Safavi dynasty, and therefore decided 

1 Z.T., fol. 215 (b) and 216 (a). 

8 Ibid., fol. 2x6 (b). 

8 Tahmasp probably needed but little encouragement, for the Carmelite monk, Leandro di Santa 
Cecilia, in his Persia ovvero Second 0 Viaggio . . . dell’ Orients (Rome, 1757), Vol. II, p. 155, 
said that he was “ molto dedito al vino." a statement which is abundantly confirmed by other 
writers, such as Lutf 'Ali Beg, and by later authorities like Fasa'i, Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali 
(the author of the Daura-yi-Mukhta$ar-i-Ta’rikh 4 -Iran), etc. 

* Shaikh Hazin, p. 221. 

* Gonibroon Diary, 3rd /14th October. 

* Ibid. 



TAHMASP’S DEPOSITION 63 

that, strong though he was, it would be wiser to wait until he had still 
further increased the non-Persian-element in his army before actually 
supplanting the ancient royal line. 1 After all, he had secured the substance 
of power, and was Shah in all but name ; he could therefore well afford 
to wait until he could, without risk, make himself the de jure ruler of 
Persia. 

On the 17th Rabi‘ I (7th September) the investiture of ‘Abbas III 
took place at the Talar-i-Tawila palace. On the infant’s cradle being 
brought forward, Nadir laid th tjiqa or aigrette of sovereignty by his head 
and placed a sword and shield beside him. 2 Homage was then rendered 
to the new monarch ; for seven days and nights the drums sounded. 

As the new Shah was only eight months old, the control of state affairs 
had obviously to be entrusted to a regent. It was no less obvious who the 
regent would be. Nadir, on taking this office, dropped the title of 
Tahmasp Quli Khan (by which he had been known since 1726), and 
adopted those of Wakilu’d-Daula and Na’ibu’s-Saltana, 

The news of the coup d'etat was received at St. Petersburg with satis- 
faction, where Nadir was looked upon as having always been “ a declar’d 
friend to Russia.” 8 Many at St. Petersburg believed that he would, 
as soon as he was firmly established, “ find means to dispatch this young 
Sophy;” 4 

Ambassadors were sent to Turkey, Russia and India to convey the tidings 
officially to the rulers of those countries. Muhammad ‘Ali Khan, the 
Beglarbegi of Fars, who was appointed Ambassador to India, was in- 
structed to repeat to the Emperor the request made through ‘Ali Mardan 
Khan in 1730 for the Indian frontier to be closed to Afghan fugitives. 5 

In Constantinople the tidings of Tahmasp ’s deposition caused anxiety 
for the future.® The Porte, besides preparing for a clash of arms in 
western Persia, determined to strengthen its influence in Daghistan and 
Shirvan, in order to threaten Nadir with attack from that quarter. In- 
structions were accordingly sent to Qaplan Girai, the Khan of the Crimea, 
to support the pro-Turkish elements in those provinces. Qaplan Girai 
therefore gave the titles of Vizier and Beglarbegi respectively to Surkhai 
Khan and his son Muhammad. 7 On being pressed by the Porte to take 
more active steps, Qaplan Girai, early in 1733, dispatched his Qalgha, 8 

1 In this connection, see Hanway, Vol. IV, p. 73. 

3 Z.T., fol. 216 (b). See also T.N., p. 116 ; Fraser (Cockell), pp. 108 and 109, and Rondeau, 
2nd /13th. December, 1732 (S.P. 91, Vol. X). 

* Rondeau, 30th December, 1732 / iotb January, 1733 (S.P. 91, Vol. X). 

« Ibid. 

* T.N., p. 1 16. 

* Lord Kinnoull, 13th /24th December, 1732 (S.P. 97, Vol. XXVI). 

1 Howorth, History of the Mongols, Part II, Division x, p. 577. 

* The Qalgha or deputy of the Khan, was the highest dignitary in the Crimea, after the Khan 

himself. For further details, see Howorth, op. dt., p. 610. 



6 4 


NADIR SHAH 


Fath Girai, with 20,000 Tatars, to Daghistan, with orders to raise the tribes 
there against Persia and to invade that country. 1 As Fath Girai, marching- 
by the nearest route to Daghistan, crossed into Russian territory great 
akrm was caused in St. Petersburg, and Nepluiev, the Russian Minister 
at Constantinople, lodged a vehement protest. Russo-Turkish relations 
entered a most critical phase when it became known that a battle had 
been fought in the Chechen territory between Fath Girai’s army and 4 000 
Russians under General Yeropkin, whom Count von Hesse-Hombum 
the Commander-in-Chief of the forces in the Persian and Turkish frontier 
districts, had sent to oppose the Tatars. In this action the Russians 
were victorious, and forced, the Tatars to retreat. Ultimately Fath 
Girai and his men left Russian territory, and joined the Turkish forces 
m Adharbaijan and Georgia. 2 




CHAPTER VII 


Resumption of the War with Turkey : Nadir’s Mesopotamian 

Campaign 

Although the supreme control of the affairs of the kingdom was now 
vested in Nadir, he was unable, owing to a revolt in the Bakhtiari country, 
to take the offensive against Turkey immediately. 

This revolt was occasioned in the following way : the Governor of 
the Bakhtiari country, a local chieftain whom Nadir had appointed shortly 
before, put a man to death for insubordination. The tribesmen rose in 
large numbers to avenge the man’s death, and killed the Governor. Some, 
fearing retribution, fled to the gamsir or hot country down by the Persian 
Gulf 1 ; their arrival there kindled a revolt by the Sunni Arabs of the 
coastal districts, who were led by that firebrand, Shaikh Ahmad Madani. 
For many months these rebels carried out raids in the neighbourhood of 
Bandar ‘Abbas, Cong, Basidu and elsewhere. 2 

Nadir, having given orders for the Bakhtiaris who had fled to \ht garmsir 
to be pursued and caught, left Isfahan for the Bakhtiari highlands on the 
19th October. Marching via the sources of the Zayanda Rud and the 
Karun river, he traversed the heart of the Bakhtiari country ; as he and 
his army advanced, the Bakhtiaris fell back before them and took refuge 
in their stronghold at Banavar. After enduring a siege lasting 21 days, 
the Bakhtiari defenders, in despair, made a sortie and bravely met their 
end, fighting to the last. 8 Nadir, in pursuance of his usual policy, sent 
off 3,000 families of the Haft Lang branch of the Bakhtiaris to Khurasan. 

Nadir then proceeded through Faili Luristan to Kirmanshah, which 
the Turks evacuated after a brief siege. 4 During his halt at Kirmanshah 
he gave orders for the Zand tribe in the districts of Malayir and Qalamrau 
‘Ali Shakar to be severely punished for their continual depredations since 
the time of the Afghan invasion. 5 

Having been joined by his main forces, Nadir left Kirmanshah for the 
Turkish frontier on the 10th December. Hearing that Ahmad Pasha 
had fortified the frontier passes at Darna, Mandali and Badra and had 

1 T.N., p. 116. See also the Tadhkira-yi-Shushtariyya (p. 67), by 'Abdullah ibn Nuri’d-Din. 

• Gombroon Diary, 28th November /9th December, 1732. Shaikh Ahmad Madani, it -will be recalled, 

had assisted Ashraf’s brother and other fugitive Afghans to escape to 'Oman (see p. 44 above). 

• T.N., p. 116. 

* Z.T., fol. 216 (b), Hanway, Vol. IV, p. 76. . _ . 

* See Muhammad Sadiq’s Ta’rikh-i-Giti-Gusha’i (sometimes called the Ta nhh-i-Zarmyya), 

• B.M. MS., Add. 23524, fol. 4 (a). 

65 F 



66 


NADIR SHAH 


posted strong forces at Zuhab and on the Taq-i-Girra, he resolved to sur- 
prise the Turks by attacking them from an unexpected direction. Striking 
north or north-east from the main road near Karind, he crossed the lofty 
Biwanij table-land into the Zimkan valley near Gahvarra, and, turning 
N.W. up the valley, went over the Gardana-yi-Yanakiz. During the en- 
suing night, he skirted the south and south-west flanks of the mountain 
.immediately to the east of Zuhab and fell upon the Turks while it was still 
dark. 1 Many of the Turks were killed and their commander, Ahmad 
Pasha Bajilan, was amongst the captured. 2 * 

Having sent detachments to collect provisions from the neighbourhood 
of Buhriz and ordered his brother-in-law, Lutf ‘Ali Beg Kusa Ahmadlu, 
the commander of the contingents from Adharbaijan, Ardalan and 
Hamadan, to cross the Turkish frontier further north and to join him 
on the Mesopotamian plain, Nadir, instead of marching direct on Baghdad, 
made a feint towards Kirkuk, in the hope of drawing Ahmad Pasha out 
of Baghdad. When a few miles beyond Tuz Khurmatli, he halted ; 
after detaching 7,000 men to invest Kirkuk, 8 he marched south to Qara 
Tappa where he was joined by Lutf ‘Ali Khan and his army. He then pro- 
ceeded via Tash Koprii towards Shahraban, crossing the Jabal Hamrin 
probably by the Saqal-Tutan pass. Having defeated 10,000 to 12,000 
Turks near Shahraban, Nadir marched to Yangija, whence he endeavoured, 
during the night, to seize the bridge at Buhriz ; in the darkness, however, 
he and his men went astray. On the following day the advance on Baghdad 
was resumed, and a reconnoitring Turkish force, under Muhammad 
Pasha, was intercepted, many of the enemy being killed and wounded 
and the remainder captured. 

On the 31st December 16,000 Persians crossed over to the west side 
of the Tigris at Samarra, in order to threaten Baghdad from that side. 
The main Persian force camped opposite the shrine of Kazimain, above 
Baghdad, on the 17th January, 1733, and three days later Nadir sent a 
body of jazayirchis 4 * to guard the shrine of Abu fjanifa at Mu‘azzam ; 
meanwhile, the Persians had seized the bridge at Buhriz. 

Since the Turks had previously denuded the whole district of supplies 
and taken them to Baghdad, Nadir had to arrange for provisions for his 
forces to be brought from Tuz Khurmatli, Zuhab and Mandali. 6 * 

1 This route is based largely on conjecture, some of the geographical details given by Mirza Mahdi 

(T.N., pp. 1 17 and 118) being incomprehensible. 

* T.N., p. 118. There seems to be no evidence in support of von Hammer’s statement (Vol. 

XIV, p. 284) that the Beg of Daxna assisted Nadir on this occasion. 

* Ibid., p. X19. Sulaiman Sa'igh, in his Ta’rikhu’l-Mau§il (Cairo, 1923), p. 275, is incorrect in 

saying that Kirkuk was taken on this occasion. Von Hammer, following the Turkish 

historian Subbi, is likewise in error in stating that Arbil was captured by Nadir’s forces 
(Vol. XIV, p. 284). See Longrigg, Four Centuries of Modem 'Iraq, p. 138, note 1. 

* Infantry armed with the heavy musket known as the jagayir, * T.N., p. 121. 



RESUMPTION OF THE WAR WITH TURKEY 67 

As the Turks had fortified the right bank of the Tigris opposite the 
Persian camp, Nadir determined to cross the river and turn their position. 
With the aid of a foreign engineer, 1 * * a floating bridge, consisting of palm- 
trunks laid upon inflated skins, was constructed and placed in position, 
apparently some distance upstream from Baghdad. On the 1st Ramadan 
(15th February) Nadir crossed over with 2,500 men and was followed 
the next day by another 1,500 ; the bridge then broke asunder. Without 
waiting for these 1,500 men, Nadir set out in the direction of Baghdad. 
Hearing of the Persian advance on the western side of the river, Ahmad 
Pasha dispatched a strong body of Janissaries, with cavalry and artillery 
in support, to meet the enemy. When the two armies met, the Turkish 
infantry proved more than a match for the Qarachorlu Kurds and Goklan 
Turkomans whom Nadir had with him, but the Afghan troops stood firm. 
The position was becoming extremely critical when the 1,500 troops 
mentioned above most opportunely made their appearance, and enabled 
Nadir to rout the Turks. This victory gave him the mastery of the west 
bank of the Tigris and enabled him to draw his cordon tightly round 
Baghdad. The Turks opposite the Persian camp retired within the walls 
of the city, leaving their cannon and equipment there and at Old Baghdad 8 
to the Persians. 8 At Nadir’s orders, detachments of his army occupied 
Samarra, Hilla, Karbala, Najaf and other places, to all of which Persian 
Governors were appointed. 4 * 

The fragments of the broken bridge were then collected, and 
floated down to Kazimain ; there they were joined together and 
strengthened by means of boats which had been captured from the 
Turks. 6 * 

The city was now completely blockaded. The Persians, like the 
Ghalzais surrounding Isfahan in 1722, had no proper siege artillery, and 
although the city was bombarded with some vigour, the walls could not be 
breached sufficiently to enable an assault to be launched.® Nadir therefore 

1 According to the Bombay edition of the T.N. (p. 12 1) this man had been sent on a mission to 
Nadir by " the Austrian (or German) King ” (the adjective used is Namsa, which can mean 
either " Austrian ” or “ German ”) . There is no record in the Hans-, Hof-und Staats-Archiv 
at Vienna of any diplomatic mission having been sent to Persia at that time ; it is most 
unlikely that any German mission would have been sent, and it is probable that the engineer 
was some European adventurer. 

* Mirza Mahdi’s Kuhna Baghdad (“ Old Baghdad ”) is evidently the same as the area marked by 

Niebuhr as Ruinen von Alt Baghdad, just north of the portion of the city situated on the west 
bank of the Tigris ; it is obviously distinct from the ruins of the Sasanian town of Daskara 
and the later Arab town of Dastajird which are now known as Eski Baghdad (See Niebuhr’s 
Reisebeschreibung, Copenhagen, 1778, Vol. II, Table XLIV). 

* T.N., p. 123. 

4 Ibid., p. 123. Muhammad MuTjsin, fol. 216 (b). 

* Ibid., p. 124. 

* Nadir’s manner of conducting this siege was in marked contrast to that of Sultan Murad TV in 

1638. Otter (Vol. I, p. 321) rightly described Nadir’s operations as a blockade rather than 

a siege. 



68 NADIR SHAH 

had to rely upon famine within the city rather than upon his cannon to 
make Ahmad Pasha yield. 

The Persians constructed extraordinarily elaborate fortifications. They 
built strong forts on each side of the Tigris nine miles above Baghdad, 
and ringed the city round with no less than 2,700 towers, each one a 
musket-shot from the other. 1 

‘Abdul- Ali, the Shaikh of the Bani Lam Arabs, having joined Nadir, 
the latter arranged for him to co-operate with the Governor of Hawiza 
in an attack on Basra. A siege of the town was threatened for a time, 
but the troops designed for the purpose soon dispersed, 2 * the Arabs, it is 
said, going back on their word, while the Persian troops were called away 
to suppress a rebellion in the province of Lar.® 

According to the Gombroon Diary , Nadir, besides wishing to capture 
Basra, also intended for a time to send an expeditionary force against 
Muscat, 4 but nothing came of this project at that time ; as will be seen 
later, it was subsequently revived and put into execution. 

The descriptions of the sufferings of the inhabitants of Baghdad recall 
those of the people of Isfahan in 1722 ; large numbers died from famine 
and disease. 5 Hanway describes how Nadir derisively sent several 
cart-loads of water-melons into the city and how Ahmad Pasha, in return, 
presented Nadir with a quantity of the best bread. 6 

Nadir, in order to discourage the defenders, caused, every fortnight 
or so, bodies of 10,000 to 12,000 of his troops to leave their lines quietly 
by night, make a short march into the desert, and rejoin the camp the next 
morning with colours flying, as though they had just arrived to reinforce 
the besiegers. 7 By the end of Muharram, 1146 (13th July) the plight 
of Baghdad was such that Ahmad Pasha had to send envoys to Nadir 
to arrange the terms for its surrender. 

Deliverance for the besieged was, however, near at hand, for the Turkish 
relieving force, under Topal ‘Osman Pasha, was approaching from the 
north. On realising that Baghdad was in great jeopardy, the Porte had 


1 Fuller particulars of these fortifications are given in the letter which Jean Nicodfcme, the French 
physician who accompanied Topa.1 ‘Osman Pasha, wrote to the Marquis de Villeneuve on the 
10th August, 1733, after Topal ‘Osman’s victory over Nadir and ms relief of Baghdad (see 
von Hammer, Vol. XIV, pp. 525 and 526). 

* Letter from Martin French, the Ba$ra representative of the East India Co., to the London office 

of the latter, 19th /30th March, 1733 (Vol. XV of the I.O. records). Mu hammad Muhsin 
is incorrect in saying (Z.T., fol. 2x6 (b) ) that Ba$ra was captured. 

* T.N., p. 124. Shaikh Ahmad Madani went to the aid of these rebels. 

* See the entry on the 22nd April /3rd May, 1733, stating that the Agent had received a letter from 

Nadir requesting him to have shipping in readiness to transport a force to Muscat. 

' The Armenian Joseph Emin, who went through the siege when a child of 7, gives an account 
of his experiences in his Life and Adventures, London, 1792, p. 20. 

* fanway, Vol. IV, pp. 82 and 83. See also the story recounted by Longrigg, op. cit., p. 140. 

See the French translation of Ahmad Pasha’s despatch to the Porte, in La Mamye-Clairac’s 

Vol. Ill, p. 301. 



RESUMPTION OF THE WAR WITH TURKEY 69 

no hesitation in seeking out its most distinguished soldier, the disgraced 
ex-Grand Vizier Topal ‘Osman (who was - then Governor of Erivan) ; 
it gave him the rank of Sar‘askar or Generalissimo, and placed him in 
command of a relieving force consisting of some 80,000 men, drawn 
mainly from the European provinces of Turkey. Topal ‘Osman made 
rapid progress at first, but his advance became slower after passing Mosul, 
because of the numerous rivers to be crossed ; furthermore, when he 
approached Kirkuk, the devastated state of the country rendered the 
victualling of his troops a difficult matter. 

A day or so after Ahmad Pasha had opened the negotiations for the 
surrender of Baghdad, he received a message from Topal ‘Osman to the 
effect that he was marching to his relief as quickly as he could. Ahmad 
Pasha read out in public the letter from Topal ‘Osman, but the people 
refused to believe that it was genuine until they had been shown the seal 
and signature upon it. 1 It was doubtless the receipt of this message 
that caused Ahmad Pasha to prevaricate, and stipulate that the city should 
not be handed over to Nadir until the end of Safar (nth August). 

On leaving Kirkuk (which had managed to resist the force that Nadir 
had sent against it when he was about to march on Baghdad), Topal 
‘Osman made for the Tigris and marched along its banks, so as to protect 
the boats carrying his provisions, as well as to have water for his men. 
Nadir sent word to Topal ‘Osman that he would be ready to give him 
battle whenever he pleased ; the Sar'askar retained the messenger and 
sent no answer. 

In order to meet the coming attack, Nadir dispatched all his army 
northwards, except for a skeleton force of 12,000 men. He ordered 
the withdrawal to be done in such manner that the besieged should not 
know that “ one drop of that boundless ocean ” had ebbed away. 2 * 4 * He 
did not leave the Persian lines outside Baghdad until the evening of the 
6th Safar (1 8th July), and joined his army on the following morning, 
just before the battle began. The exact site of this battle is difficult to 
determine, as the names given by von Hammer and other authorities 
have undergone such mutilation ; von Hammer states that the battle 
was fought at Douldjeilik, by the banks of the Tigris, thirty leagues from 
Baghdad, 8 while, according to Martin French, it took place at Jadida.* 

Topal ‘Osman had stationed his men by the river, where they were 

1 Ibid. 

* T.N., p. 125. , ... . ,, 

* Vol. XIV, p. 290. " Douldjeilik " suggests some place on the Tigris dose to Dujajl (the latter 

place, though at more or less the distance from Baghdad indicated by von Hammer, is some 
miles west of the river). ... _ . ... 

4 See French’s letter from Ba?ra to London dated the 6th /17th August, 1733- There is a village 

named TChau Jadida on the left bank of the Tigris 20 miles north of Baghdad. 



NADIR SHAH 


70 


strongly entrenched, with their cannon in position ; in numbers they were 
slighdy superior to the Persians. 

The battle began at 8 a.m., when the opposing advance-guards encoun- 
tered each other ; soon after, the cannon of the Turkish rear-guard 
opened fire on a large body of Persians who had marched round and 
attacked from the north-east. The main attack was launched an hour 
later by Nadir, at the head of 50,000 men ; the Persian and Afghan 
infantry, who were in three divisions, forced the Turkish centre back, and 
captured some of their cannon ; the position of the Turks seemed highly 
critical when 2,000 of their Kurdish auxiliaries fled. Topal ‘Osman 
however, did his utmost to rally his troops and sent forward his reserve 
force, consisting of 20,000 men, with the result that the Persian attack 
was stemmed and the lost cannon recaptured. Nadir himself was in 
the thick of the fighting; while leading the attack on the Turkish artillery, 
his horse was wounded and fell. He promptly mounted another horse 
and rode again into the fray. 1 

The wind being from the north, the dust and smoke raised by the 
combat were blown in the faces of the Persians, and the July sun blazed 
fiercely down upon them. After several hours of desperate fighting all 
ranks were suffering terribly from thirst, 2 but no water was obtainable, 
as the Turks were in possession of the river bank. 

_ O n Nadir’s second horse being wounded, it fell on its head and threw 
him to the ground. Though he was at once provided with another 
steed, many of his troops, on seeing him fall, imagined that he had been 
wounded or killed, and a panic ensued which the Persian officers were 
unable to check. 8 . Seeing that further efforts were useless, Nadir retreated 
from the field with such of the survivors of his army who had not fled,. 
The casualties on the two sides are variously estimated ; the Persians 
appear to have lost over 30,000 killed, while 3,000 were taken prisoner. 4 
All Nadir s artillery, 6 baggage and provisions were left in the hands of 
die Turks ; altogether, it was a signal triumph for Topal ‘Osman, for the 
Persian army was shattered, and the way to Baghdad now lay open ; the 
victory, however, was not quite complete, for Nadir himself had escaped. 


1 T.N., p. 126. 

' Bo ^ JJahdi and Muhammad Muljsin speak of the agonies of thirst of the Persians. (See 

• T Np ?27 6 ’ Dwra -y % - Nadtra ‘ PP- 12 3"5 and Z.T., folio 216 (b).) 

* Nlc o 0 + d ^ ae - one end ? f p- e scale, puts the Persian losses in killed at 40,000, while Mirza WMi , 

^ at only 2 ’, 00 ? fel1 1 There can be 110 doubt that the Persian losses were. 
d 30,000 see ? s t0 be a reasonable figure. Many Persians were killed after the. 
» wJSS?® a f the ?r were quenching their thirst by the side of the Tigris. 

Vo1 ' ¥ Y ' p : 523) says that the Persians left all their cannon on the 
JSf'JS " ^ 30-pounders, six 15-pounders and eight 9-pounders. There were also 

of bSSn werTtien ambares (? *™ burafts )- Almost all the Persians' horses and beasts. 



RESUMPTION OF THE WAR WITH TURKEY 71 

The Turks had by no means escaped scatheless, as they lost some 
20,000 men. 

It cannot be denied that Nadir’s generalship was very much at fault 
in this campaign. He would surely have been better advised either to 
wait within his fortified lines outside Baghdad, and make Topal ‘Osman 
advance that much further and attack him there, or else to have left 
Baghdad at an earlier date and attacked the Sar‘askar when he was crossing 
the Greater or the Lesser Zab. Instead of following either of these courses, 
Nadir gave battle at a spot that was very disadvantageous for himself 
and his men. One can only assume that he was over-confident on this 
occasion. 

As soon as the news of Topal ‘Osman’s victory reached Baghdad, 
Ahmad Pasha made a sortie, and overwhelmed the 12,000 troops who were 
manning Nadir’s fortifications ; he then cut the bridge of boats and 
captured all the Persians’ supplies. Many of the Persian troops were 
killed, but a number of survivors on the west side of the Tigris escaped 
by devious ways to Persia, their flight being facilitated by the Bani 
Lam. 1 

Topal ‘Osman, having spent the evening of the 19th July and the 
following two days resting his troops and attending to the wounded, re- 
sumed his march, and on the 23rd July he and his army camped within 
sight of the forts and towers erected by the Persians round Baghdad. 
Soon afterwards Ahmad Pasha arrived at the Turkish camp. On the 
following day, the 24th July, Topal ‘Osman entered Baghdad. At the 
Saraskar’s request, no special honours were accorded him, since, as he 
said, “ to God only is victory to be attributed.” In the words of Nicod&me, 
it seemed that Topal ‘Osman and those with him were entering a tomb 
rather than a town ; the dead lay piled up in heaps, and thousands of 
people were suffering from hunger or disease. It was said that 110,000 
persons had perished during the siege.* 

Such was the devastation wrought by the Persians in the country around 
Baghdad that Topal ‘Osman, after a halt of eight days some seven miles 
from the city, had to withdraw the bulk of his troops to Kirkuk, in order 
to prevent them from dying of starvation. 

Nadir and the remnants of his army made their way via Buhriz to 
Mandali, and were joined en route by some of the survivors of the skeleton 
besieging force which Ahmad Pasha had routed. 8 The Persian soldiers 
were in a sorry plight, many being on foot and almost naked 4 ; what 
happened to the wounded is not recorded. 

Although Nadir’s conduct of the siege of Baghdad and of the operations 

* Nicodfcme (Von Hammer, Vol. XIV, p. 527). 

4 Z.T., fol. 217 (a). 


1 T.N., p. 127. 

* Durra-yi-Nadira, p. 127. 



NADIR SHAH 


72 

against Topal ‘Osman is open to criticism, his behaviour after his defeat 
deserves the highest praise. The disaster, he said, had been ordained by 
Fate, at whose decrees it was useless to revile. 1 In this spirit he set 
about the stupendous task of reconstituting his army. 

Nadir held a conference with his principal officers at Mandali, and 
gave his men leave to return to their homes to refit. 2 He issued urgent 
orders to all parts of the country for arms and equipment of all kinds, 
together with baggage animals, to be collected ; the artillery and munitions 
were to be of better quality and greater in quantity than before. 3 In- 
structions were issued to the provincial authorities to see to the refitting 
of their troops (who were to be at Hamadan in two months’ time) and to 
enrol recruits. 

On the 4th August, Nadir arrived at Hamadan, and attended in person 
to his great task. He ordered 200,000 tomans (approximately ,£440,000) 
to be distributed to the troops to compensate them for their losses and to 
enable them to purchase new equipment ; every man who had lost a horse 
worth ten tomans was given one worth double that amount, and the 
same principle was followed in regard to camels, tents and arms. 4 * 

In the relatively short space of two months the gigantic work was accom- 
plished, and, on the 22nd Rabi‘ II (2nd October), Nadir left Hamadan 
for the Turkish frontier with his reconstituted army. 6 On reaching 
Kirmanshah, he heard that Fulad Pasha, of Adana, was stationed on the 
Diyala river, a few miles beyond Zuhab, in order to guard against an 
advance on Kirkuk. As on his previous march, Nadir left his baggage 
and artillery behind and, marching by mountain tracks, aimed at surprising 
the enemy. The attempt was less successful than on the previous occasion, 
but the Turks, after a skirmish had taken place, beat a retreat. 

It was at this juncture that the news first reached Nadir 6 that Muhammad 
Khan Baluch had revolted. Nadir’s exactions had made him unpopular 
and his treatment of Tahmasp had outraged the feelings of many Persians 
who had not, however, hitherto dared to show their sentiments openly. 
It was reported in Isfahan in April, 1 733,’ that Nadir had sent for Tahmasp 
with the object of reinstating him, but that he, after his defeat, changed his 
mind and ordered Tahmasp to be retained in Mashhad, because, under the 
altered circumstances, the ex-Shah’s rule would have been “ inexpedient 

1 Tjr., p. 128. 

8 T adhhra-yi-Skushtariyya, p. 68 . 

8 Z.T., fol. 217 (a). 

4 T.N. , pp. 128-129. 

1 Ibid., p. 130, and Durra-yi-N adira, p. 129. 

* Ibid., pp. 131-132, It is stated in the Gombroon Diary , under the date 25th October /5th 
November, 1733, that reports had been current for some little time that Muhammad Khan 
Baluch had rebelled and had declared in favour of Tahmasp. 

1 See the Gombroon Diary , 26th June /7th July, 1733. 



RESUMPTION OF THE WAR WITH TURKEY 73 

and a hindrance.” 1 It was, no doubt, Nadir’s change of mind that caused 
many of the Safavi faction 2 to join Muhammad Khan Baluch. 8 

Nadir felt that this revolt was not of sufficient gravity to cause him to 
postpone his Turkish campaign and resolved to deal with it after he had, 
finished with the Turks. 

It is impossible to recount with any pretence to accuracy the course 
of events between the skirmish by the Diyala and the battle of Lailan, 
because the geographical data given by Mirza Mahdi and Hanway are 
vague and fanciful in the extreme. 4 It seems that Nadir advanced towards 
Kirkuk much as he had done previously, but his object on this second 
occasion was entirely different. He was aiming not at luring Ahmad 
Pasha away from Baghdad, but at meeting with and crushing Topal 
“‘Osman Pasha. If he could defeat Topal ‘Osman, his lost prestige 
would be regained, and Baghdad in the south and Tabriz in the north 
would both be at his mercy. 

Topal ‘Osman was under no illusions as to his position. His losses 
in the battle of the 19th July had not been made good, despite repeated 
requests to Constantinople not only for reinforcements, but also for a 
younger man to take his place. Nadir, on the other hand, now had an 
army even more numerous and better equipped than before. 

By the 24th October, Nadir had reached the plain of Lailan, a few 
miles S.E. of Kirkuk, and an engagement took place between detachments 
of his force and of Topal ‘Osman’s army ; both sides claimed the victory, 
but the advantage rested, apparently, with the Turks. 8 Topal ‘Osman, 
however, kept his main force within its defences. Nadir thereupon 
marched off to the north-east and captured the fortress of Surdash, in the 
hope that Topal ‘Osman would emerge from Kirkuk and march to its 
relief. Part of the Turkish forces fell into Nadir’s trap, for scouts brought 
him word, when he was at a place called Qara Tappa, 6 that Mamish 
Pasha, with 12,000 men, had entered the Aq Darband defile. 7 

Taking a route which was thought to be impracticable, Nadir marched 
his men over the hills and into the defile at a point above the Turkish 
position. On the following day (9th November), after sending some 


* T.N. 9 p. 136. 

=* The direct descent of the Safavi monarchs from ‘Ali, through ?usain and the Imam Musa 
al-Ka?im, caused them to be much venerated by their Shi'a subjects. See Shaikh Hazin, 

* Muhammad Khan was also joined by numbers of Baluch, Arabs and Khuzistan tribesmen. See 

Mirza M uhamm ad Shirazi’s autobiography, p. ix. 

4 See Longriggi op. tit., p. 145. 

* Von Hammer, Vol. XIV, pp. 291 and 292, Hanway, Vol. TV, p. 97. „ 

* Qara T&ppa is not marked on existing maps ; it is obviously distinct from the Qara T&ppa 

just to the north of the Jabal Hamrm. , _ ... _ . 

» There is a description of this defile in C. J- Rich’s Ncwrattve of a Residence tn Koofdtstan, London, 

1836, Vol. I, pp. 58-59- 



74 NADIR SHAH 

jazayirchis to make a detour and to get across the Turks’ line of retreat > 
he advanced to the attack. 

Soon after the battle between the Persians and Mamish Pasha and 
his men had begun, the main Turkish force under Topal ‘Osman arrived, 
and joined in the fray. For two hours a tremendous fire was kept up by 
both sides 1 ; then the Persian troops, being anxious to wipe out the 
memory of their previous defeat, made a furious charge and drove in the 
Turkish centre. Topal ‘Osman thereupon left his litter, and, having 
mounted a horse, made a desperate endeavour to rally his men , 2 but a 
fierce flank attack by the Abdalis caused the Turks to give way again. 
The day was irretrievably lost when the brave Topal ‘Osman was shot 
down. The unfortunate Sar'askar’s head was then cut off, stuck on the 
point of a lance and taken in triumph to Nadir. The whole Turkish 
army was in flight by this time, and heavy casualties were inflicted upon 
the fugitives by the well-directed fire of the jazayirchis whom Nadir 
had previously detached for this purpose. At a conservative estimate, 
the Turks lost some 20,000 men in killed and prisoners.® 

Nadir caused Topal ‘Osman’s body to be recovered and sent it, together 
with the head, to Baghdad for burial, in charge of a Turkish qadi named 
‘Abdu’l-Karim Efendi, who was one of the prisoners taken in the battle. 

After the battle, Nadir ordered a force under Baba Khan Chaushlu, 
the Beglarbegi of Luristan, who was then near Samarra, to cross the. 
Tigris, and reoccupy !Hulla, Najaf and Karbala and prevent supplies from 
reaching Baghdad. As there was, apparently, no hope of relief' for 
Ahmad Pasha, Nadir left enough troops to blockade Baghdad while he 
himself marched northwards to recover Tabriz. On reaching the town 
of Bana, he learnt that Timur Pasha, on hearing of the Turkish defeat 
at Aq Darband, had evacuated Tabriz and that a Persian force had re- 
occupied it . 4 There being no longer any necessity to proceed to Adhar- 
baijan, he marched southwards again in order to effect a junction with 
his forces that were blocading Baghdad. He was confident that the city 
would speedily fall into his hands, but, on reaching Tuz Khurmatli* 
he received disquieting news of Muhammad Khan Baluch’s rebellion . 5 

1 See the interesting letter which Nadir wrote to the Count of Hesse-Homburg regarding this, 
battle ; a French translation of this letter was sent by Lord Forbes and C. Rondeau from, 
St. Petersburg to London on the 2nd /13th February, 1734 (S.P. 91, Vol. XVI). In this, 
letter, which appears to have been written towards the end of Nov., 1733, the names and 
dates have suffered some distortion in the process of translation from Persian to Russian, 
and from Russian to French. 

* Hanway, Vol. IV, p. 98. Mirza Mahdi alleges that Topal 'Osman only mounted a horse in 

order to escape, but this does not seem in accordance with the Sar'askar’s character. 

* No reliance can be placed upon Mirza Mahdi's figures ; while, in the T.N. (p. 135), he states that 

xo,ooo Turks were killed and 3,000 captured, he raises the number of lolled to 20,000 in thet 
Durra-yi-Nadira (p. 137). Hanway’s figure of 40,000 killed seems for too high. 

4 T.N., p. 136, and Nadir's letter to Count von Hesse-Homburg. 

* For particulars of the progress of this revolt and its suppression, see pp. 77 to 79. 



RESUMPTION OF THE WAR WITH TURKEY 75* 

Nevertheless, *he did not deem the situation in Khuzistan and Fars suffi- 
ciently critical for him to proceed there in person ; instead, he therefore 
sent orders to Tahmasp Khan Jalayir (who was then at Isfahan) and to. 
Isma'il Khan Khazima, the new Governor of Kuhgilu, 1 and other pro- 
vincial authorities and leaders to co-operate in crushing the revolt. 

From Tuz Khurmatli Nadir marched to S'amarra and thence to the 
Persian investment lines round Baghdad. On the 7th December, Ahmad. 
Pasha sent a confidential messenger to Nadir ; this man, after showing 
Ahmad’s authority to conclude a treaty of peace, delivered his offer to. 
restore the conquered territories to Persia. 

After negotiations extending over several days, Nadir and Ahmad. 
Pasha reached agreement and signed the treaty on the 19th December,, 
1733. The provisions of this treaty were, briefly, as follows : 

(i) Turkey agreed to relinquish all the Persian territory conquered: 

during the last ten years and to revert to the frontier laid down, 
by the Turco-Persian treaty of 1639. 

(ii) The prisoners taken by both nations were to be released, and; 

the captured cannon restored. 

(iii) Persian pilgrims visiting the holy places in Turkish territory in. 

the vicinity of the frontier were to be accorded certain privileges. 

It can be regarded as certain that, had it not been for the rebellion of' 
Muhammad Khan Baluch, Nadir would have refused to agree to any terms, 
that did not include the surrender of Baghdad. 

In accordance with the provisions of this treaty, Ahmad Pasha forthwith, 
sent orders to the Pashas of Ganja, Shirvan, Erivan and Tiffis to evacuate: 
their respective territories and to set at liberty all their Persian prisoners.. 
Nadir, in return, liberated all the Turkish prisoners in his hands. 

Costly presents were exchanged between Nadir and Ahmad Pasha,., 
and arrangements were made for the former to visit the shrines at- 
Kazimain, Najaf and Karbala. 2 

Before leaving the vicinity of Baghdad, Nadir gave two letters for the- 
Grand Yizier to the Qadi ‘Abdu’l-Karim Efendi, who was to take the. 
treaty to Constantinople for ratification ; in these letters he drew attention 
to the common origin of the Ottoman Turks and the Turkomans (he- 
always regarded himself as one of the latter), and pointed out that this was, 
a reason for concluding peace. 8 

Martin French reported to London from Basra that 90 days were allowed-, 
for the ratification of the treaty to be received from the Porte. 

1 Nadir, on h«M-fag of Mnha-mma.fl Khan’s revolt, had dismissed him from this post, and had; 
appointed Isma'il Khan Khazima in his stead. 

* T.N., pp. 137-138. 

* Von Hammer, Vol. XIV, p. 335. 



NADIR SHAH 


76 

According to Lord Kinnoull, Ahmad Pasha did not expect the Porte 
to ratify the treaty ; in an explanation of the circumstances under which 
he had been compelled to sign it, he said that he only agreed to its terms 
as a means of gaining time, since he could not possibly have held out for 
another month. 1 

The Qadi ‘Abdu’l-Karim Efendi reached Constantinople in the middle 
of February, 1734. After several councils had been held to consider 
the treaty, the Porte rejected it on the grounds that it was dishonourable. 
Although the Sultan and his ministers approved of Ahmad Pasha’s conduct 
under such difficult circumstances, they nevertheless dismissed him from 
his post as Governor of Baghdad, doubtless because of the machinations 
of his arch-enemy ‘Ali Pasha, the Grand Vizier. 2 * * * * * In accordance with the 
decision taken, the orders which Ahmad Pasha had sent to the Pashas 
of Ganja, Shirvan, Erivan and Tiflis were disregarded, and more troops 
were sent to reinforce the Sar'askar ‘Abdullah Koprulii (who had been 
raised to that rank on the death of Topal ‘Osman) at Diarbakr. The 
Porte nevertheless sent no message to Nadir expressly denouncing the 
treaty ; instead, it endeavoured for a time to make him believe that the 
question was still under consideration and that a lasting settlement would 
shortly be made. 

The Russian court had followed with interest, and, at times, with anxiety, 
the course of the Turco-Persian campaign. The news of Nadir’s defeat 
by Topal ‘Osman caused considerable perturbation, it being feared that 
Persia would be forced to come to terms with Turkey and that the French 
Ambassador at Constantinople (the Marquis de Villeneuve) would then 
succeed in inducing the Porte to go to war with Russia. 8 Russia was 
already deeply involved in the war of the Polish Succession, and would 
have been faced with a critical situation had Turkey been able to yield to 
the importunities of France and attack her ; it was only the continuance 


1 Despatch dated the 18th February /ist March, 1734 (S.P. 97, Vol. XXVII). 

4 Ahmad Pasha was appointed Governor of Aleppo, but he was at his own request appointed to 

Urfa instead. See Longrigg, op. tit., p. 147. 

* French policy in relation to Turkey and Russia had undergone a complete change ; whereas 

in 1723 and 1724, France had played the part of mediator (see p. ix and 12 above), in 1733 she 

was just as actively engaged in endeavouring to fan into flame the increasing animosity 

between the two powers, because of the intervention of Russia in the war of the Polish 
Succession on the side of Augustus of Saxony. France had espoused tire cause of Stanislaus 

Leszczynski, the father-in-law of Louis XV. (See F. Martens’s Recueil des Traitis et Con- 
ventions conclus par la Russie avec les Puissances Etrangires, Vol. I, p. 70 and Vol. XIII, pp. 
42-43) . Great Britain, which in 1723 and 1724 had tried to embroil Russia and Turkey in war, 
now, on the other hand, played the rfile of peace-maker. Villeneuve used every endeavour 
to put fresh spirit into Turkey, and in this task he had an unofficial, but very efficient 
coadjutor in the person of that strange adventurer, Bonneval ; the latter did a great deal to 
make the Turkish army more efficient. As A. Vandal has said [op. tit., p. 175), the French 
adventurer " en peu de temps . . . accomplit le miracle d'habituer une troupe dont il ne 
connaissait point la langue a 6voluer avec une precision qui eflt fait envie an plus habile 
regiment de France ou d'AlIemagne.” 



RESUMPTION OF THE WAR WITH TURKEY 77 

of the war with Persia which compelled Turkey to keep the peace with 
Russia. The march of Fath Girai to Daghistan, the resulting submission 
of many of the northern Caucasian tribes to Turkey, and the action with 
the Russian forces in the Chechen territory were additional causes of 
anxiety and tension. The situation was greatly eased as far as Russia 
was concerned when Nadir decisively defeated the Turks in the great battle 
in which Topal ‘Osman lost his life. The Porte was thrown into the 
utmost consternation on receiving the news of this battle, and the hopes 
of the Marquis de Villeneuve for an early termination of the Turco-Persian 
war were completely shattered ; the French Ambassador had been hoping, 
once peace with Persia was concluded, to bring about the reappointment 
of Topal ‘Osman Pasha as Grand Vizier, and then to engage Turkey 
and Russia in war. 1 The Russian court was, as was natural, propor- 
tionately relieved when it received the news of Nadir’s great victory. 2 

After Nadir had visited the shrines at Kazimain, Najaf 8 and Karbala, 
he sent off his artillery to Isfahan via Khurramabad. Taking the desert 
route via Hawiza to Shushtar, he seized and put to death the Governor 
and imprisoned many of the inhabitants of the latter place because they had 
aided Muhammad Khan Baluch. 4 He then proceeded to Ram Hormuz ; 
leaving his baggage there, he marched light towards Behbehan. Hearing 
that Tahmasp Khan Jalayir and the Beglarbegi of Kuhgilu had joined 
forces and were marching on Muhammad Khan Baluch, Nadir effected 
a junction with these commanders at Du Gunbadan, and pressed on 
towards the Shulistan defile, where the rebel leader, with 15,000 men, 
was reported to be. 5 When the Persian advance guard appeared, 
Muhammad Khan, who had had no news of Nadir’s coming, imagined 
that it was merely an isolated body of troops, and hastened to attack it. 
He was disillusioned when he saw the main Persian force arrive, and 
heard Nadir, in his voice of thunder, issuing orders to his men. 6 


Lord Kirm ou.il, ist/i2th December, 1733 (S.P. 97, Vol. XXVI). 

Lord Forbes’s despatch from St. Petersburg of 8th /19th December, 1733 (S.P. 91, Vol. XV). 

Dr. D. M. D onal dson, in his work The Shi'ite Religion : A History of Islam in Persia and Irak 
(London, 1933), p. 62, states that a curious story was related to him in Najaf to the effect 
that Nadir, on hearing that wine would turn into vinegar on being brought into the city and 
that no dog would enter it, took a bottle of wine with him when approaching Najaf and also 
determined to make his dog enter the city. The dog, however, resisted so strongly all 
efforts to make him pass through the gate that he had to be killed, and Nadir found, after 
he himself had made his entry, that his wine had, in fact, turned to vinegar. It was said that 
Nadir, in consequence of these and other miracles, professed his belief in the Shi'a I mams and 
became convinced of the righteousness of their claims. Needless to say, this story has no 
basis in fact, 

T.N., p. 138, Durra-yi-Nadira, pp. 139-140, TadhMra-y-Shushtanyya, p. 69. 

Baron de Bode, who passed through this district in January, 1841, stated m his Travels tn 
Lurisran and Arabistan (London, 1845), Vol. I, p. 239, that, close to Pahliyan, is theTepeh 
(Tdppa), or hillock of Senjar-Muhammed Beluj, on which the chief so named made a stand 
against Nadir Shah, for which piece of temerity ... he forfeited his head." 

Hanway, Vol. IV, p. in. 



78 


NADIR SHAH 


Muhammad Khan Baluch’s army was entirely defeated, and fled from 
the field, leaving 3,000 dead. Though pursued by Tahmasp Khan 
Jalayir, Muhammad Khan escaped to Shiraz and thence to Jahrum and 
Lar. He was refused admittance into Lar, and hastened on to the garmsir. 

When Nadir found that his quarry had slipped through his fingers, 
he sent messages to both the English and Dutch Agents at Gombroon 
to send vessels without delay to patrol the coast and prevent Muhammad 
Khan and his followers from escaping. The two Agents replied that the 
ports were so numerous that they could not keep watch over all with the 
scanty shipping available, but promised to send vessels to any specified 
place. 1 

Meanwhile Tahmasp Khan Jalayir had pursued Muliammad Khan 
to Shaikh Ahmad Madani’s stronghold near Charak, and had begun 
the siege of that fortress. At the beginning of May the place was taken 
by assault and Shaikh Alimad was captured, but Muhammad Khan and a 
few others escaped to the island of Qais. 2 * 

It was at this juncture that a certain Latif Khan reached Gombroon 
and gave the English and Dutch Agents letters stating that Nadir had 
appointed him : 

“ His Admiral of the Gulph, with Orders to Purchase Shipping of the Euro- 
peans of Gombroon. He therefore required our Compliance with the Caun’s 
Desires in sparing Two Ships for their service which they should be paid for. ..." 8 

This message is of decided interest, as it is the first indication of Nadir’s 
desire to form a fleet. It is remarkable that he, an unlettered man of 
peasant stock, coming from a province remote from the sea, should so 
quickly have grasped the importance of sea power. No less noteworthy 
was the persistence with which he afterwards sought to bring his naval 
plans to fruition. The escape of some of the Ghalzais to ‘Oman and of 
Muhammad Khan Baluch to Qais had brought home to him the impossi- 
bility of having the long stretch of coast from the head of the Gulf to Gwadar 
efficiently patrolled when, having no vessels of his own, he had to depend 
upon the occasional loan of European or Arab ships. As the English 
and Dutch almost invariably prevaricated when asked to lend their ships 
or to co-operate with the Persian land forces, and as the Arabs who 
possessed vessels were usually in sympathy with those against whom the 
Government wished to take action and were often in revolt themselves, 
Nadir certainly had a sound reason for wishing to have a fleet of his own. 
A« will be explained in due course, Nadir’s naval aims were of a more 

1 Gombroon Diary, 3rd /14th February, 1734. 

* Ibid., 8th /19th May, 1734, and Durra-yi-Nadira, p. 141. 

* Ibid., 7th /18th May, 1734. 



RESUMPTION OF THE WAR WITH TURKEY 79 

ambitious order than mere patrolling of the coast ; how he carried out 
his plans. will be described in the following chapter. 

On this occasion, neither the English nor the Dutch would sell any 
vessels to Latif, but, after suggesting that the Persians might purchase 
ships at Surat, 1 they each lent a couple of vessels for the purpose of blockad- 
ing _ Qais : Shaikh Rashid of Basidu and the powerful Huwala chief, 
Shaikh Jabbara of Tahiri and Bahrain, also provided ships. A close 
blockade of Qais ensued, and Muhammad Khan Baluch was thereby 
prevented, from escaping from the island ; he was eventually captured 
and sent in chains to Isfahan. On his arrival there, he was, at Nadir’s 
orders,, blinded, and three days later he died 2 ; it is uncertain whether he 
took, his own life or perished as a result of the treatment which he had 
received. 

Tahmasp Khan put Shaikh Ahmad Madani to death, and had many 
of the refractory Arab tribesmen of the Gulf ports (banadir) and of the 
Hawiza district transported to Khurasan and Astarabad. Further, he 
rased their fortresses to the ground, and made Shaikh Jabbara collect an 
indemnity of 10,000 tomans from Shaikh Rashid of Basidu and other 
Arab chiefs who had espoused, or been sympathetic to, the rebel cause. 
The power of these Arabs was thus entirely broken. 3 

1 Surat-built ships were famous for their lasting qualities. An entry in the Bombay Consultations, 
dated the 31st May, 1734, states that ships built of teak in the Surat manner either at that 
place or at Bombay were far more durable and suited to the climate than any vessels built 
in Europe. Particulars of the durability of Surat ships and of the manner in which they 
were built are given by the Dutch Rear-Admiral J. S. Stavorinus in his Voyages to the East 
Indies (S. H. Wilcocke’s English translation, London, 1798), Vol. Ill, pp. 17-23. 

* T.N., pp. 143 and 144. 

3 Gombroon Diary , 29th June/ioth July, 1734. 



CHAPTER VIII 


Nadir’s Campaigns, 1734-6 : Beginnings of his Navy 

Whilst Tahmasp Khan Jalayir was completing his subjugation of the 
Gulf coastal districts, Nadir went to Shiraz, where he remained for over 
two and a half months ; during his stay there, he appointed Mirza 
M uhamma d Taqi Khan Shirazi Deputy-Governor of Fars. This Mirza 
Muhammad Taqi Khan, who was mustaufi of Shiraz, was the son of 
Hajj'i Muhammad ; from generation to generation this family had had 
in their possession the post of mir-ab or chief of the water supply of Shiraz 
and Qumisha. 1 Taqi Khan, although not gifted as a military leader or 
as an administrator, afterwards made extraordinary progress, owing 
to the influence which, for some unexplained reason, he was able to acquire 
over Nadir. 

On the 1 8th April, 1734, Nadir left Shiraz for Isfahan, and heard while 
he was on his way that a son had been born to Rida Quli and Fatima 
Sultan Begum on the 21st March. 2 The fact that this son was given 
the name of Shahrukh was, apparently, the first indication that Nadir 
was deliberately seeking to copy Timur. True, this Shahrukh was not 
his son, but his grandson, but, at the time when his own sons were born 
he was still an obscure individual, and he could not then have had any 
inkling of what fate had in store for him. At this time, however, he was 
well launched upon his career of conquest and aggrandizement. It is 
impossible to say when he first conceived this idea of modelling himself 
upon Timur, but the following combination of circumstances may have 
led him to do so. First, Nadir, like Timur, was of Turanian and not 
Persian origin (it will be recalled that, after he and Ahmad Pasha had con- 
cluded the treaty of December, 1733, he had written to the Sultan of 
Turkey drawing attention to the kinship between the Turks and the 
Turkomans, thereby clearly regarding himself as one of the latter) 8 ; 
secondly, he had been brought up in the neighbourhood of Kalat, with 
which natural fortress Timur’s name was closely associated 4 ; in the third 
place, it so happened that his second wife’s name was Gauhar Shad, the 
same as that of Timur’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Shahrukh. In addi- 
tion, both Timur and Nadir were men of little education (Nadir had 
practically none until he was past middle-age), but they each had unusually 

1 Fars-Nama, p. 175. 

* T.N., p. 141. 

* See p. 75 above. 

4 Timur’s forces captured Kalat after a long siege in 1382. 

80 



NADIR’S CAMPAIGNS, 1734-6 Si 

retentive memories. Both were intensely ambitious and adventurous 
and were possessed of real military genius ; lastly, both were merciless 
to evil-doers. The parallel between these two remarkable men must not, 
however, be drawn too far, because, although there were such striking simi- 
larities, there were also important points of difference. Timur exerted 
himself to encourage trade and industry, and sought, by means of his 
conquests, to open up new trade routes, while Nadir, on the other hand, 
paid but little attention to commerce and had no thought for the economic 
welfare of his subjects. Secondly, Timur strove to further the spread of 
Islam, but Nadir took no such action ; if he had any religion at all, he 
subordinated it to his political aims. 

Nadir, on reaching Isfahan, was accorded a great reception ; Geekie, 
the East India Company’s representative there, reported that “ the streets 
were covered at his Entry in the same Manner as for the King and the 
Illuminations and Fire Works on this Occasion lasted for some days.” 1 

During Nadir’s stay in the capital the Qadi ‘Abdu’l-Karim Efendi 
arrived from Constantinople bearing a letter for him from the Sultan' 
which stated that ‘Abdullah Pasha Kopriilu, the Sar'askar or Generalis- 
simo, had been empowered to conclude peace with Persia. Despite the- 
ambassador’s assurances that the Sultan’s intentions were peaceful, Nadir 
was convinced that he was really hostile and was merely seeking to gain 
time. 2 * * He nevertheless treated ‘Abdu’l-Karim courteously, and sent him. 
back to Turkey with a message to ‘Abdullah Pasha to the effect that all 
would be well if the Porte returned the occupied Persian territory ; if' 
it did not do so, war would recommence. His belief was, as it turned 
out, well-founded, for the Turkish ‘ ulama , on being consulted by the- 
Grand Vizier, recommended that the war with Persia should be continued 
with the greatest vigour and that none of the conquered territoty should 
be handed back to Persia until the Russians had been obliged to give up* 
their conquests. 

Almost immediately after Nadir had given the Turkish envoy his. 
conge, a Russian mission under Prince Sergei Dimitrievich Golitzin 
arrived at Isfahan 5 ; Golitzin was an experienced diplomat, having- 


1 Gombroon Diary , 15th /26th. June, 1734 (quoting from a letter from Geekie). 

* T.N., p. 142. It will be noticed that the Porte did not speak of ratifying the treaty concluded. 

between Nadir and Ahmad Pasha, but of concluding a new treaty. 

* Dr. Schnese, the surgeon accompanying the mission, wrote an account of the journey to I sfa h an . 

which was later published at the end of Dr. Lerch's Nachricht von der ZweiUn Raise nach 
Persian von 1745 bis 1747, in Bftsching’s Magazin fur die neue Historie und Geographic, 
Vol. X, pp. 461 and 462. See also the T.N., p. 154 (Mirza Mahdi always referred to Prince * 
Golitzin as “ K aun as/' this being, presumably, his rendering of the Russian word Rnyaz — 
prince ; cf., ibn Khurdadbih’s use of the word qinnaz to denote the king of the Slavs, on , 
p. 17 of Vol. VI of the Bibliotheca geographorum arabicortm ). Golitzin himself wrote an . 
account of his journey and of his experiences when at Nadiris court and when accompanying ■ 
him on his campaigns. The manuscript of this record, which should make most interesting; 

G 



8a 


NADIR SHAH 


previously been sent as ambassador to Spain and Prussia. 1 The main 
objects of Golitzin’s mission were to report fully to St. Petersburg on the 
situation in Persia and to induce Nadir to terminate the truce with Turkey. 
Golitzin, after being received by Nadir, reported that the latter’s attitude 
was most difficult, as he was very much on his dignity and resented being 
asked to take any action ; much tact and patience were therefore essential. 2 

Although Nadir agreed at first to Golitzin’s request that, in the event 
of Turkey making war upon Russia, Persia would attack Turkey, he 
afterwards procrastinated and clouded the issue by making inquiries 
respecting other matters. When Golitzin said that Russia was prepared 
to assist Persia, Nadir thanked him, but said that he did not see how he 
could avail himself of this offer if the Russians would not go to Shamakhi 
or Baghdad. If circumstances arose that involved a rupture with Turkey, 
he hoped to deal 'with the Turks without help from abroad ; if he suc- 
ceeded, he would advance through Anatolia to Constantinople, and then 
Russia could attack Turkey from the other side. 8 Golitzin further re- 
ported that Nadir was angry with Russia because she had not given up 
Darband and Baku, although Russia, under the terms of the 1732 treaty, 
was really within her rights in retaining those two places so long as the 
Turks remained in possession of Adharbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. 

As nothing further had been heard from Turkey respecting the rati- 
fication of the treaty and the restoration of the occupied territory, Nadir 
set out for the Turkish frontier on the 12th Muharram 1147 (14th June, 
1734). Accompanied by Prince Golitzin and his suite, he marched 
via Gulpayagan to Hamadan ; it seemed that, up to his arrival at the 
latter town, he had intended advancing on Baghdad via Kirmanshah. 4 
On leaving Hamadan, however, he marched to Sinandij and Maragha. 
The main, if not the only, reason for this change of plan was that, just 
before leaving he had received word from a Persian agent in Russia that 
the Russian court had ordered the Georgian ex-king Vakhtang and his 
son Bakar 5 to go to Darband whence they were to set out and capture 
Shamakhi and conquer Kartli for Russia. 6 

reading, is contained in G. F. Mailer’s portfolio No. 348 (document 15), in the Moscow 
archives. See Professor M. A. Polievktov’s Evropeiskie Puteshestvenniki XIII-XVIII vv 
po Kavkazu [European Travellers in the Caucasus from the XIHth to the XVIIIth Centuries), 
Tiflis, 1935, p. 35 (I am indebted to my friend Mr. J. F. Baddeley for this last reference). 

1 Polievktov, op. dt., p. 35. 

* Soloviev, Vol. XX, p. 1332. 

* Ibid., p. 1333. 

* Vakhusht’s Histoire de Karthli, H. de la G., Vol. II, Part I, p. 130 and Schnese, op. cit., p. 462. 

* For particulars of the chequered careers of Vakhtang and his son, see Brosset's Matiriaux pour 

seryir h VHistoire de la Giorgie, St. Petersburg, 1841, pp. 212 and 213, and the same author's 
Histoire de la Giorgie, Vol. II, Part I, pp. 121 and 580 and 581. 

* Vakhusht, H. de la G., Vol. II, Part I, p. 129. Brosset states, in a footnote, that the actual 

text of the instructions to Vkhtang and bis son was reproduced in the Polnoe Sovranie 
Zakonov, Vol. IX, p. 317. 




NADIR’S CAMPAIGNS, 1734-6 83 

At Maragha a Turkish envoy came to Nadir, but it seems that he brought 
no message of importance. Nadir then dispatched his (paternal) uncle 
Bektash Khan Qiriqlu and the soldiers under him to Tabriz, and ordered 
a number of tribal Governors to concentrate at Dimdim, where they were 
to wait until it was known whether there was to be peace or war with 
Turkey. 1 

Nadir reached Ardabil on the 10th August, 2 where he received a message 
from ‘Abdullah Pasha requesting him to postpone for two years his demand 
for the return of the occupied territory ; if an envoy were then sent to the 
Ottoman court, the provinces would be handed over. 3 This message 
showed him conclusively that the Turks had no intention of concluding 
peace on the terms agreed upon between him and Alimad Pasha. 

Nadir decided to strike the first blow, not at the Turks themselves, 
but at their vassal Surkhai, the Khan of Shirvan. In taking this decision, 
he had a fourfold object. First, he wished to capture Shamakhi before 
Vakhtang could seize it for Russia. Secondly, he felt that the presence 
of Persian troops so close to Baku and Darband would induce the Russians 
to expedite the conclusion of the treaty which Golitzin had for so long been 
negotiating. Thirdly, Nadir certainly had grounds for wishing to humble 
Surkhai. In the last place, by taking Shamakhi, he would be recovering 
part of Persia’s lost territories. 4 

Surkhai, as Khan or Governor of Shirvan, had received orders from 
Ahmad Pasha to evacuate that province (see p. 75 above), but had 
disregarded them. When the Governor of Astara, at Nadir’s request, 
wrote to remind Surkhai of these instructions, he replied : “ With the 
swords of the Lazgi lions we have conquered Shirvan ; what right has 
Ahmad of Baghdad or anyone else to interfere in this way ? ” 5 

When Nadir, on the 21st August, reached the Kura,® Surkhai became 
alarmed and fled to the Daghistan mountains. 7 Nadir thereupon crossed 
the Kura and occupied Shamakhi, apparently without meeting with any 
resistance 8 ; after appointing a Governor, he levied a heavy tax upon the 
inhabitants. 9 


T.N., p. 144. 

Sc hnes e, op. at., p. 464. Accordin g to tlie T.N., Nadir did not reach Ardabil until the 19th 
Rabi‘ I (19th August). 

T.N., p. 144. 

The Grand Vizier believed that Russia had prompted Nadir to take S ham a khi . See Lord 
KinnoulTs despatch of the 12th /23rd September, 1734 (S.P. 97, Vol. XXVII). 

T.N., p. 145. 

Lerch in his Auszug aus dem Tagebuch in Btisching's Magazin, Vol. Ill, p. 21, gives the (O.S.) 
date as August 10th. According to the T.N. (p. 148), Nadir reached the Kura on the 29th 
Rabi* I {29th August). 

Durrcir-yi-N adira, p. 143. 

Butkov is incorrect in saying tha t Shamakhi was besieged for two months, and make s a further 
mistake in stating that Su rkhai was killed on this occasion (V ol. I, p. 126). 

Schnese, op. cit., p. 464. 



84 NADIR SHAH 

Whilst at Shamakhi, Nadir, through Golitzin, threatened Russia with 
war unless Baku and Darband were given up, his argument being that 
Turkey would not restore the provinces in her occupation so long as 
Russia retained any Persian territory. The Russian court then sent word 
to Nadir that, notwithstanding the treaty of Resht, its forces would evacuate 
all Persian territory, provided that Persia ratified the treaty and bound 
herself to regard Russia’s enemies as her own. In October, 1734, 
General Levashev (who had succeeded the Count von Hesse-Homburg 
in the command of the Russian forces in Daghistan) received orders to 
evacuate all territory south of the Darband district, including the town 
of Baku, and to prepare for the handing over of Darband. 1 

On the 15th September, Nadir left Shamakhi with half his army, 
numbering 12,000 men, and penetrated into the heart of the Ghazi 
Qumuq country, with the object of destroying Qumuq itself. Three 
days later Tahmasp Khan Jalayir set out with the remaining 12,000 
men for the Qabala district, where Surkhai was reported to be. Tahmasp 
Khan encountered Surkhai at Deveh Batan, on the road from Shamakhi 
to Qabala. Surkhai had 20,000 men in all, including 8,000 Turks and 
Tatars from Ganja under Mustafa Pasha and the Qalgha Fath Girai.. 
His preponderance of force would have been even greater if King Taimuraz 
of Kakheti 2 * had not heavily defeated another Turkish army and forced it 
back to Tiflis. Despite his inferior numbers, Tahmasp Khan routed 
Surkhai’s composite force ; Surkhai fled towards Qumuq, and the Turks 
and Tatars retired to Ganja. Tahmasp Khan followed up this success by 
capturing and destroying Surkhai’s fortress of Khachmaz. 8 

Meanwhile, Nadir was advancing with some difficulty in the Ghazi 
Qumuq country. Surkhai, after offering to submit, attempted resistance, 
but he suffered defeat again near Qumuq, and fled to Avaria. Nadir 
then destroyed Qumuq and seized Surkhai’s treasures. 

Khass Fulad Khan, the son of ‘Adil Girai, 4 the former Shamkhal of 
Tarkhu, who was a personage of some importance in Daghistan, submitted 
to Nadir. Nadir revived the post of Shamkhal, and conferred it on Khass 
Fulad. 5 * * . 

1 Butkov, Vol. I, p. 127. Baku was not, however, given up until the spring of 1735 (see p. 8& 
below). 

1 Taimuraz, ^ who had succeeded his brother Constantine (Muhammad Quli Khan) as King of 
Kakheti in 1731, had sworn allegiance to Turkey. As the Turks failed to redress the wrongs, 
of Kakheti, Taimuraz espoused the Persian cause ; see Vakhusht, H. de la G Vol. II, Part 
I, pp. 130 and 131, 

* T.N . , p. 146. 

4 *Adil Girai had rebelled against Russia in 1725, but the Russian Government had suppressed the* 

revolt, and exiled him to Kola, in the north of Lapland ; at the same time, it abolished the 

Shamkhalate of Tarkhu. 

* T.iST., p. 148. Nadir, it seems, wished to revive the Shamkhalate as it had been before the 

split took place between the Ghazi Qumuqs of the mountains and those of Tarkhu. 



NADIR’S CAMPAIGNS, 1734-6 85 

Nadir realised that, owing to the lateness of the season, it was impossible 
to pursue Surkhai, as the passes into Avaria would all be blocked with 
snow. After spending a week at Qumuq, he went to Akhti where he 
attacked and put to flight a number of hostile Lazgis. He then went on 
by a most difficult road via Khachmaz and Qutqashin to Qabala, where 
he heard of Taimuraz’s victory over the Turks. Shortly after Taimuraz’s 
triumph, the Turks received another set-back, for Giv Amilakhor, the 
Eristav of Ksan, captured the citadel of Gori. 1 Leaving Qabala on the 
22nd October, Nadir crossed the Kura south of Aresh, and marched to 
Ganja, under the walls of which he camped on the 3rd November. He 
sent word to Vakhtang at Darband to come to his camp, but Vakhtang 
deemed it wiser not to obey ; being unable to carry out his instructions 
from the Russian court, he then returned to Astrakhan. 2 

Nadir took elaborate measures for the prosecution of the siege of Ganja. 
The town having been evacuated by ‘Ali Pasha, who had retired to the 
citadel, Nadir mounted cannon on top of one of its mosques, but the 
Turkish artillery soon silenced this battery. Attempts were then made 
to scale the walls of the citadel by means of lofty wooden stagings, but 
these were destroyed by the fire of the defenders. Active mining and 
counter-mining went on, and on one occasion six Persian mines, which 
were exploded simultaneously, did great damage to the walls and killed 
700 Turks. 8 In the course of the siege Nadir thrice narrowly escaped 
death ; on one occasion a soldier by his side was decapitated by a cannon 
ball, and Nadir’s face and clothing were spattered with the unfortunate 
man’s brains and blood. 4 

The usual Persian weakness in siege artillery and the difficulty of cam- 
paigning actively in winter combined to render the siege long and arduous. 
The Turks, moreover, defended themselves with spirit and inflicted 
severe loss on the Persians. 

Golitzin realised at an early date that for the above reasons the siege 
was likely to be a lengthy one. Feeling that the delay in the capture 
of Ganja would be harmful to Russian interests as well as to those of 
Persia, he offered to assist Nadir. The offer was gladly accepted, with the 
result that Levashev, in November, sent an engineer officer and four 
bombardiers, all clad in Persian garb, to the Persian camp ; some heavy 
artillery was also sent.® Nadir is said to have been inclined at first to under- 
estimate the prowess of these Russians, but he was soon convinced of their 
ability. 6 

1 Sekhnia C hkh eidze, H. de la G., Vol. II, Part II, pp. 47 and 48. 

* Vakhusht, H. de la G., Vol. II, Part I, p. 130. 

* T.N., p. 150. 

* Ibid., p. 151. 

* Soloviev, Vol. XX, p. 1333, Lerch, Busching’s Magazin, Vol. Ill, p. 37. 

* Dr. J. Cook, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 465. 



86 


NADIR SHAH 


Notwithstanding the aid furnished by the Russians, Nadir felt that 
it would be impossible to carry the citadel by assault ; he thereupon 
maintained the blockade with part of his forces, while he sent off the 
remainder, under a Khurasani Turk named Safi Khan Bughairi, to besiege 
Tiflis in conjunction with the mouravan va aznauran (“ prefects and those 
of illustrious birth ”) of the Georgians. 1 

On the 27th December, Golitzin, acting on instructions from 
St. Petersburg, informed Nadir that the Empress, feeling assured 
that he would be able to expel the Turks, had agreed to return to Persia 
the territory still in Russian hands on condition that he undertook never 
to give up this territory to Turkey, to treat as his foes the enemies of 
Russia, and to confirm in writing his promise to Golitzin to do all in his 
power to withstand Turkey. Nadir was delighted at this message and 
promised to accede to these requests. 2 

The result of this development was the signature of the treaty of Ganja 
on the roth/2ist March, 1735. Russia undertook to evacuate Baku 
within a fortnight and Darband within two months from the date of 
signature of this treaty ; Persia promised, in return, to be the perpetual 
ally of Russia, and never to surrender Baku and Darband to any other 
power. 8 The Sulaq was agreed upon as the frontier between Russia 
and Persia, and each power bound itself not to negotiate a peace with 
Turkey without the knowledge and consent of the other. 4 

Russia surrendered Baku and Darband within the stipulated periods, 
and (although not obliged to do so by the terms of the treaty) dismantled 
and evacuated the fortress of the Holy Cross. Thus ended the Russian 
occupation of Northern Persia, which Peter the Great had begun 13 years 
before. The only real advantage which Russia had derived from this 
occupation was that Turkey had thereby been prevented from establishing 
herself on the shores of the Caspian Sea, but this advantage, important 
though it was, had been dearly bought. It had cost the lives of no less 
than 130,000 Russian soldiers, the majority of whom had perished from 
sickness in the unhealthy province of Gilan. 5 

As ‘Abdullah Pasha, who was then at Qars, made no move to relieve 
Ganja, Nadir, a few days after the Nau Ruz celebrations, sent a body of 
troops towards Qars in the hope of making him “ raise his head from 
the collar of obscurity ” and so enable the Persians to attack him.® He 
also dispatched troops to keep watch upon the warlike Jar and Tala Lazgis. 

l T.N., p. 152 (in the Bombay edition mouravan is incorrectly given as auravan). Mirza 
Mahdi's use of these Georgian terms is of interest. For an explanation of the meaning of 
mouravan and aznauran, see Allen’s History of the Georgian People, pp. 166 and 225 respec- 
tively. 

* Soloviev, Vol. XX, p. 1,333. 

* Butkov, Vol. I, pp. 130 and 131. * T.N., p. 154. 

* Manstein’s Mimoires, p. 95. * Ibid., p. 155. 



NADIR’S CAMPAIGNS, 1734-6 87 

It was probably at this time that Nadir gave orders for the destruction 
of Shamakhi and for its inhabitants to move en masse to Aq Su, 15 miles 
to the W.S.W. As many new buildings had to be erected at Aq Su 
for the people of Shamakhi, Nadir sent Turkish prisoners of war to the 
former place to assist in the building of the new town. When all was 
complete and the evacuation had taken place, Aq Su was renamed New 
Shamakhi. 1 Nadir’s pretext for this action was that the site of Shamakhi 
was too open to attack, 2 but Hanway is probably correct in saying that 
Nadir rased the town to the ground and slaughtered many of its inhabitants 
because of “ the countenance which this city had given to the Lesgees.” 8 

At the beginning of May, Nadir left his camp at Ganja for Qars, after 
arranging for the blockade to be carried on in his absence. After making 
an unsuccessful attempt to intercept Timur Pasha, the Governor of Van, 
who was marching to the relief of Tiflis, Nadir tried to reach the fortress 
of Qazanchai by an extremely difficult mountain route, hoping that the 
threat to that fortress would rouse ‘Abdullah Pasha from his lethargy. 
Thick snow on the mountains rendered the tracks impassable, 4 so Nadir 
had to abandon his project and advance on Qars via Lori. On the 24th 
May he camped three miles from Qars. As ‘Abdullah Pasha still remained 
inactive behind his walls, and as provisions were scarce in the neighbour- 
hood of Qars, Nadir retired to Abaran, where he very graciously received 
the Armenian Catholicos Abraham. He then proceeded to Erivan, 
which he besieged ; a force which he sent against Bayazid succeeded 
in capturing that fortress. 5 

Nadir left enough troops to continue the siege of Erivan, and marched 
to Echmiadzin with his main force, so as to be ready to attack ‘Abdullah 
Pasha, should the latter leave Qars. After returning to Erivan to repel 
a sortie by the garrison, he went to Parakar where he received the welcome 
news that ‘Abdullah and his forces had crossed the Akhurian river (Arpa 
Chai) and were advancing towards him. 6 
The Turkish army consisted of 30,000 Janissaries and 50,000 cavalry 7 ; 

1 According to the Fars-Nama, p. 177, New Shamakhi was also known as Jaliliyyabad, but this 
name does not seem to have been widely used. 

* T.N., p. 154, Z.T., fol. 2x7 (b), Butkov, Vol. I, p. 126, Dorn, Geschichte SeMrwans, p. 413. 

1 Vol. IV, p. 115. 

* T.N., p. 156. See also the Catholicos Abraham’s Mon Histoire et cells de Nadir, Chah de Perse, 

in Brosset's Collection d’Historiens ArmSniens, St. Petersburg, 1876, Vol. II, p. 267. 

* T.N., p. 157. 

* Ibid., p. 157, also the Catholicos Abraham, op. cit., p. 270. 

7 See the translation of a letter which Nadir sent to Prince Golitzin at Darband after the battle : 
this translation was enclosed in Rondeau’s despatch of the 6th /17th September. (Just before 
the battle of Baghavard, Golitzin had started on his return journey to Russia, and was at 
Darband when this letter reached him ; he was accompanied by Mirza Kafi Na$iri Khulafa, 
who was being sent as Persian Ambassador to St. Petersburg. On Golitzin’s return, he was 
made Governor of Kazan, and it was there that he wrote the account of his experiences in 
Persia referred to on p. 81 above) . Mirza Mahdi’s figures, namely, 70,000 cavalry and 50,000 
infantry, are much exaggerated. 



NADIR SHAH 


$8 

the numbers of the Persians are given as only 15,000 by Mirza Mai 
;and as 1 8,000 by the Catholicos, 1 but it seems that these numbers 01 
relate to Nadir’s advance guard and that his main force, which (as y 
be seen below) came into action later in the battle, consisted of so: 
40,000 men, making the Persian strength 55,000 in all. 2 

Leaving his baggage behind, Nadir hastened to meet the Tun 
'On the evening of the 18th June he and his men reached the village 
Akhikandi, close to the Zanga Chai, and camped on a hill called j 
Tappa. Simultaneously, ‘Abdullah Pasha’s army arrived at Baghava: 
two farsakhs away, on the further side of a plain. 3 

On the following morning the Turks, confident in the superiority 
their numbers, took the offensive. Nadir, having first posted a lar 
number of his men in ambush, charged down the hill with only three re; 
ments and fell impetuously upon the Turks. What his men lacked 
numbers, they more than made up for in courage. Nadir, with a numt 
o£ jazayirchis, made for a small hill on the plain on which ‘Abdullah Pas 
had placed some of his artillery, and captured it, while another body 
men advanced against the artillery on the Turks’ left wing. Whilst the 
.•attacks were in progress the Turkish and Persian centres became engage 
The Persians’ heavy artillery and zanburaks or camel-swivels poured a me 
destructive fire upon the Turkish centre, which was soon thrown in 
confusion and forced to retreat. At Nadir’s command, the Persian cavah 
as well as the troops in ambush, then charged the Turks as they fell bac 
and converted the retreat into a rout. The Sar'askar himself, Sa 
Mustafa Pasha, a son-in-law of the Sultan, and several other Turki: 
■officers of note, were amongst the slain, and a large number 
Turks were taken prisoners. 4 The remnant of the defeated army fl< 
in various directions ; between 3,000 and 4,000 Turks who were tryii 
to reach Ashtarak were cut off by Armenians and then killed by the pu 
suing Persians. Nadir had every reason to be pleased with this gre 
victory, and informed Prince Golitzin that he had never been so fortuna 
since he had begun to wage war. 5 

After the battle, Nadir had the corpse of ‘Abdullah Pasha Kdprtil 
recovered and, as he had done with Topal ‘Osman’s remains, sent it to tl 


1 Catholicos Abraham, p. 270. 

* This is the total given by Hanway, Vol, IV, p. 119. 

* T.N„ p. 157, Duna-yi-N adira, p. 147. 

4 P- 159 - There is some divergence between the various authorities as to the date of tt 
battle. While Mirza Mahdi gives the date as the 26th Mubarram (18th June), the Catholic 
gives it as the 8th /19th June, as do General Yeropkin (a copy of his report of the battle w 
given by Veshniakov to Lord Kinnoull in the following September— see S.P. 97, Vol. XV] 
and Nadir himself in his letter to Golitzin. There seems no doubt that the 19th June is tl 
correct date. 

* See Nadir's letter to Golitzin referred to in Note 7, on page 87. » 



NADIR’S CAMPAIGNS, 1734-6 89 

Turks. He then dispatched some of the Turkish prisoners to Ganja, 
Erivan and Tiflis to inform their compatriots there of the victory. 1 

When, on the 3rd July, the news of the Turkish disaster reached Con- 
stantinople, it caused the utmost dismay. The Grand Vizier, ‘Ali Pasha 
Hakimoghlu, was blamed for the defeat and was dismissed, and Isma'il 
Pasha, the Governor of Baghdad, took his place as Grand Vizier. Ahmad 
Pasha was made Sar'askar, in succession to the defunct ‘Abdullah Pasha, 
and was soon afterwards reinstated as Governor of Baghdad. 2 

When the Turkish prisoners brought the news of the battle of Baghavard 
to ‘Ali Pasha, the Governor of Ganja, he at once asked for quarter, and 
surrendered the fortress on the 9th July, 1735": he had stubbornly defended 
it for eight and a half months. ‘Ali Pasha and the Qalgha Fath Girai were 
kindly received by Nadir, who allowed ‘Ali Pasha to go to Qars and Fath 
Girai to Tiflis. Isljaq Pasha, the Governor of Tiflis, soon followed ‘Ali 
Pasha’s example and surrendered on the 12 th August. 3 Erivan alone 
held out ; as will be seen below (p. 91), it did not yield until the 3rd 
October. 

For the second time Nadir proceeded to Qars, which he besieged for a 
month, cutting off the water-supply and ravaging the country from the 
Arpa Chai to Erzeroum. 4 

Before describing the concluding phase of the Turkish war, some 
mention must be made not only of the march of the Khan of the Crimea 
to Daghistan in the summer and autumn of 1735, but also of Nadir’s 
naval aims and of the Persian attempt to capture Basra in April of that 
year. 

In 1734, as in 1732, the Porte requested the Khan of the Crimea to 
march to Daghistan. The Khan excused himself on the grounds that 
funds were lacking and that his men were unwilling to go 5 ; it appears 
that, in reality, he was loth to quit the vicinity of the Polish frontier, 
as he wished to intervene in the war of the Polish Succession on the side 
of Stanislaus Leszczynski. 8 Early in May, 173^, the Porte issued 
stringent orders for the Khan to march with 80,000 men to Daghistan 
and thence into Shirvan, and this time it would brook no refusal. When 
Nepluiev, the Russian Resident at Constantinople, and his assistant, 
Veshniakov, heard of these orders, they strongly protested to ‘Ali Pasha, 

1 T.N., p. 159. 

4 Otter, Vol. I, p. 32. 

» T.N., p. 160. The Catholicos Abraham (p. 278) and Sekhnia Chkheidze (H. de la G., Vol. II, 
Part II, p. 48) both give the same date as Mirza Mahdi. 

4 T.N., p. 160 and Catholicos Abraham, p. 277 : the latter states that Nadir transferred 6,000 
Armenian families from the district 01 Qar? to Khurasan. 

* Tagebuch des Russisch-Kaiserlichen Generdfeld-MarschaU Grafen von Munnich (Leipzig, 1843), 
p. I 3 I * 

4 Butkov, Vol. I, p. 123 (Butkov is guilty of an anachronism here, as he states that Qaplan Girai 
started for Daghistan in November, 1733). 



90 


NADIR SHAH 


the Grand Vizier, but he informed them in reply that many of the leaders 
and l ulama of Daghistan had appealed to the Sultan for assistance against 
Nadir, who had already defeated Surkhai and appointed a new ruler 
(i.e., Khass Fulad). The Grand Vizier added that the Porte had considered 
this petition and that it felt obliged, under the circumstances, to take the 
people of Daghistan under its protection and to send them military assis- 
tance ; the orders to the Khan had therefore been issued and could not 
be rescinded. 1 The British, Austrian and Dutch representatives at 
Constantinople pointed out to the Grand Vizier the great danger of war 
with Russia that this march (like that of Fath Girai two years before) 
would entail, but ‘Ali Pasha replied that the orders must stand, and that 
the Persian war could not be brought to an end unless the Khan marched 
to Daghistan ; he added, however, that the Khan would be given strict 
orders not to enter Russian territory. 2 

It is beyond the scope of this work to describe the further attempts 
which were made by the British, Austrian and other diplomatic repre- 
sentatives (except the French Ambassador) at Constantinople to exert 
a moderating influence. All was in vain, and in July, 1735, Qaplan 
Girai set out with 53,300 men, 8 and reached Daghistan in October. 
No actual military encounter with the Russians occurred during this 
march, but the Russian court, without declaring war on Turkey, sent 
General Leontov, with 20,000 regular troops and a force of Cossacks, 
to ravage the Crimea, with the double object of relieving the pressure on 
Nadir and of punishing the Crim Tatars for their frequent raids into 
Russian territory. 4 

Alarmed by the attitude of Russia and by Nadir’s threat to Anatolia, 
Turkey decided to offer peace terms to Persia. Not only had Nadir 
recovered all the Persian provinces and towns (with the exception of 
Erivan, which was still holding out), but he had carried the war into 
Turkish territory. 

Ahmad Pasha, who was at Erzeroum at this time and who had been 
empowered to negotiate the terms of the peace, sent an envoy to Nadir 
offering to deliver up Erivan and to conclude peace on the basis of uti 
possedetis. Nadir, however, was besieging Qars and demanded the 
cession of that fortress, an indemnity for all the losses suffered since the 
Turkish occupation of Persian territory began and the inclusion of Russia 
m the treaty. 5 He soon afterwards dropped his demand for Qars, 


1 Kinnoull, 24th May /4th June, 1735. 

* dbtd. See also Soloviev, Vol. XX, p. 1,328. 

" P* r 33 for details of the composition of this force. 

X°^‘ P?' *?3 aod 124. See also Count Ostermann’s statement to Rondeau which 

■ iSESSRgjSSl (SJP - *'• Vo1 - xvra >- 



NADIR’S CAMPAIGNS, 1734-6 91 

whereupon Ahmad Pasha ordered Erivan to be surrendered, which 
accordingly opened its gates to the Persians on the 3rd October. 1 After 
the three fortresses had surrendered, Nadir decided to abandon the siege 
of Qars and to settle the affairs of Georgia instead. He accordingly set 
out for Tiflis on the 6th October, and summoned Taimuraz, the latter’s 
nephew ‘Ali Mirza, 2 and the tavadan and the aznauran (“ chiefs and 
those of illustrious birth”) of Kartli and Kakheti. 3 The Georgians 
obeyed, and came to him when he was a short distance from Tiflis. Nadir 
appointed ‘Ali Mirza Governor of Kartli and Kakheti because he was a 
Moslem, although (as Mirza Mahdi himself admits) Taimuraz had far 
more claim to that position. 4 Taimuraz was bitterly disappointed at 
being passed over in this way, and took an early opportunity of escaping 
to the country of the Pshavs and Circassia. As for ‘Ali Mirza, his tenure 
of office was merely nominal, as Nadir set Safi Khan Bughairi to keep watch 
on him. 

On reaching Tiflis, Nadir was given a good reception, the streets through 
which he had to pass being strewn with carpets. He treated kindly the 
Georgians who had submitted, but banished to Khurasan 6,000 families 
of those who had opposed him. 5 

In the meanwhile, Nadir had been negotiating intermittently with the 
Turks. Kalushkin, Golitzin’s successor, 6 reported to Count Ostermann 
an interesting interview which he had had with Nadir at Tiflis ; the 
Regent, he said, had decided to make peace with the Turks, but only 
on condition that Russia was included in the treaty. The Turks, however, 
were opposing the inclusion of Russia because, they maintained, she had 
been seeking a quarrel with them by her attack on Poland. Kalushkin 
went on to say that he had explained to Nadir the circumstances under 
which Russia had entered into the Polish war and the part played by 
France in regard to both Poland and to the Russo-Turkish situation. 

1 T.N., p. 161, Catholicos Abraham, op. at., p. 278. 

« 'Ali Mirza, or Alexander as he -was otherwise known, was the son. of Imam Quli Khan (David III) 
of Kakheti ; his brother Muhammad had been killed in Mesopotamia in the disastrous battle 
of the 19th July, 1733. 

* T.N., p. 162. It will be recalled that Mirza Mahdi had previously (see p. 86 above) used the 

Georgian terms mouravan va aznauran ; in this case, he uses tavadan (“ chiefs '*) in place of 
mouravan (" prefects ”). For the etymology and meaning of tavad, see Allen, op. cit. ; 
pp. 246-249. 

4 Ibtd., p. 162. 

* Sekhma Chkheidze, H. de la G., Vol. II, Part II, p. 4.9. 

* He had, apparently, arrived in Persia before Golitzin’s departure (see Soloviev, Vol. XX, p. 

1,337). Muhammad Kazim, on p. 27 of the Kitab-i-Nadiri, refers to a passage in the previous 
volume (the missing one) in which he had described the arrival, apparently in 1735 or there- 
abouts, of the ambassadors of the Aq Banu ; (“ the White Princess/' Le., the Empress Anna). 
These ambassadors, he said, had brought letters and presents from the Aq Banu ; one of the 
presents was a marvellous mechanical toy with which Nadir was delighted. He wrote in 
reply that, after the capture of Qandahar, he would have the honour of meeting the '* White 
Princess ” and of giving her his hand in marriage, " when the two kingdoms would become 
one." It is not dear whether this passage relates to Kalushkin's arrival or not. 



NADIR SHAH 


■92 

■“ I see that you are right,” exclaimed Nadir, when Kalushkin had finished, 
“ may God not forgive me if I make peace with the Turks if the settlement 
■does not include the Russians ! ” He then expressed his gratitude 
to the Empress Anna for the kindness which she had shown to him. 1 

When Nadir had spent nearly three weeks in Tiflis, he heard that Qaplan 
Girai, the Khan of the Crimea, was marching on Darband. Although 
he knew that ‘Ali Pasha, the former Governor of Ganja, was on his way 
to him in order to settle the frontier question on the former (1639) basis, 
and that the Sultan had instructed Qaplan Girai to return to the Crimea, 
he insisted on setting out to attack the Khan 2 * ; this move may, perhaps, 
have been intended as a gesture to Russia. He marched through the 
districts of Jar and Tala, where he killed many Lazgis and burnt a number 
of villages. He then went via Shekki to Shamakhi with the object of 
encountering the Khan, but on arrival there, he learnt that Qaplan Girai, 
having heard of his advance and having also received the Sultan’s orders 
to return, had begun his return march to the Crimea. Before leaving 
Daghistan, Qaplan Girai made Eldar, a brother of the late ‘Adil Girai, 8 
Shamkhal, and appointed Surkhai Governor of Shirvan, and Ahmad 
Khan, the Usmi of the Qaraqaitaq, Governor of Darband. 4 

Beyond immobilising a relatively small number of troops whom Nadir 
had detailed to watch his movements and giving some encouragement 
to the Lazgis, Qaplan Girai, during his stay in Daghistan, had done nothing, 
in a military sense, to affect the issue of the Turco-Persian war ; on the 
other hand, his expedition aggravated the already tense situation between 
Russia and Turkey. 

Before proceeding further with the narrative of events in the north, 
it is necessary to turn for a time to happenings in Southern Persia. 

In the summer of 1734 Latif Khan, acting under orders from Nadir, 
was busily engaged in making Bushire into a suitable base for the nascent 
Persian fleet ; up till that time, it had been no more than an unimportant 
fishing village. In order to strengthen the defences, Latif Khan put 
an old Portuguese fort there into a state of repair. Shortly afterwards, 
Bushire was renamed Bandar Nadiriyya. 5 

In the following October, Tahmasp Khan Jalayir arrived at Isfahan 
with raqams from Nadir for the English and Dutch East India Companies 
requesting them to furnish : 

1 Soloviev, Vol. XX, p. 1,337. 

■* T.N., p. 163. 

* Eldar was thus the uncle of Khass Fulad, whom Nadir had made Shamkhal. For the genealogy 

of this family, see 1 . Berezin's Puteshestvie po Dagestanu i Zakavkazi, Kazan, 1848, p. 77. 

* T.N., p. 164. See also Dorn’s Gcschichte Schirwans, pp. 4x3 and 414. 

4 Gombroon Diary, 5th /16th July, 1734. 



NADIR’S CAMPAIGNS, 1734-6 . 93 

“what number of ships he might want well armed and provided to go on any 
expedition he should please to send them and to be entirely at his disposal. Con- 
cluding (that) on these Conditions we might depend on his favour. The Sardar 
added a Refusal would incur Thomas Caun’s displeasure. . . . Nothing the Resident 
(Geekie) could offer could convince the Sardar of the unreasonableness of this 
Demand.” 1 

Geekie wished to shut up the Company’s factory at Isfahan and leave 
the city, but Tahmasp Khan refused to allow him to go. How the Dutch 
Resident fared is not recorded. 

In December word was received at Gombroon that the masters of the 
brigs Patna and Ruferall had sold their vessels to Latif Khan at Bushire. 
In view of the Gombroon Agent’s refusal to accede to the Khan’s request 
to be allowed to buy vessels, this action put him in an awkward position, 
and led him to expect further requests from Latif Khan which it would 
be difficult to refuse. In an angry mood, he made the following entry 
in his Diary : 

“ We wish this wild Conduct of These two Scureless (sic) People may not involve 
us in great difficulties with the Caun as our Answers to him before on this Head 
were quite contrary.” 2 

In April, 173^, Latif Khan, with a fleet consisting of three “ grabs,” 
50 large trankeys and several smaller vessels, entered the ShattuVArab, 
with the object of capturing Basra. A Persian force of 8,000 men had 
been ordered to co-operate with him in the attack, but Latif Khan was too 
impatient to wait for this land force to arrive ; on being joined by a number 
of Arabs who were in revolt against the Turks, he proceeded upstream. 

It so happened that two English ships, the Royal George and the Beany 
were lying at anchor in the river off Basra at this time. When the Pasha 
of Basra heard of the approach of the Persian fleet, he requested Martin 
French, the representative of the East India Co., to hand over these two 
vessels. French protested, saying that : 

“ We were in Amity with the Persians amongst whom the Honble. Co. had 
their Servants and consequently we could not act against them without exposing 
ourselves and fellow servants to the resentment of the Persians, to which the Bashaw 
made a short answer that the necessity of affairs required it, and if he could not 
have the Ships by fair means, he would take them by force. . . 

The Pasha thereupon seized the two vessels, placed 200 Turkish soldiers 
in each, and sent them off downstream against Latif Khan. They en- 
countered the Persian fleet at a narrow part of the river five leagues below 
Basra, where the Persians had erected two batteries. The crews of the- 

* Gombroon Diary, loth /zistNovember (quoting from a letter from Geekie dated the 22nd October). 

* Ibid., 2nd /13th December, 1734. 



94 


NADIR SHAH 


English vessels delayed engaging the enemy as long as they could, but on 
the 3rd June, the Turks forced them to attack. Fighting continued for 
three days and ended in the rout of the Persians. Only two men were 
killed and one wounded in the British ships, although they 

" received above fifty shot in their Hulls, besides ye damage done their Masts 
and Yards. . . . The Bashaw has transmitted an account of this Action with great 
incomiums to the Port, and has likewise wrote to the Earl of Kinn oull about it 
the action was doubtless very brisk, but I could wish it were against some other 
Nation, tho’ I believe they (i.e., the Persians) will do us the justice to thini- that 
nothing less than an absolute necessity cou’d ingage us to Act against them ." 1 

The Agent and Council at Gombroon took a very serious view of the 
matter, which, they feared, would aggravate still further the bad relations 
subsisting between the Company and Nadir, and they were so apprehensive 
of the punishment that Nadir might inflict upon them that they at first 
contemplated evacuating the factory at Gombroon and taking to their 
vessels. Urgent messages were sent to Whittwell, the representative 
at Kirman, to settle up the Company’s affairs there, and to come to 
Gombroon. Nadir was, in fact, angry when he received the news, but 
his wrath was not directed solely against the Company. He dismissed 
Latif Khan from his post, saying that he should not have attacked the 
Turks until the land force of 8,000 men was ready to co-operate with 
him. As regards the Company, the affair was ultimately smoothed over 
because Nadir was extremely anxious to obtain more shipping from it 
or through its intermediary, and it did what it could to accommodate 
him ; soon after, as will be explained in due course, he made preparations 
to recover Bahrain from the Huwala Arabs, and a still more ambitious 
project was to mature later. 

When Nadir received word that the Khan of the Crimea had started 
on his homeward march, he recommenced his operations against the 
Lazgis,. despite the lateness of the season. Marching from Shamakhi 
via Alti Aghach and Darrakandi, he punished the inhabitants of Buduq 
and Khinaluq and took measures to intercept the fugitives. He then went 
via Gilyar to the north of Darband where he camped on the 2 1st November; 
here he learnt that Eldar, the “ anti-Shamkhal,” Surkhai and the Usmi 
Ahmad Khan had joined forces at Ghazanish, in order to attack Khass 
Fulad. He thereupon went to Majalis where he heavily defeated Khan 
Muhammad, the son of Ahmad Khan. From Majalis he and his forces 
proceeded through the mountain country to Gubden, in Khass Fulad’s 

* t0 London ' dated tte 5 th /16th. June, 1735. See also the Gombroon Diary, 



NADIR’S CAMPAIGNS, 1734-6 


territory, killing the tribespeople and plundering and burning their 
viHages as they went. On the 17th Sha'ban (2nd January, 1736) Nadir 
left Gubden for Qumuq with Khass Fulad.* Surkhai had gathered to- 
gether all the available tribesmen whom he stationed in a strong position 
in the valley of the Ghazi Qumuq Qoisu, through which the Persian 

army would have to pass ; in addition, he had fortified the mountain 
tops. 


Nadir ordered his jazayirchis to attack the enemy and sent the Afghans 
to carry their mountain positions. The operations were successful, and 
Surkhai had to retreat, 1 2 while Eldar, who was on his way to join him, 
was also defeated. Nadir then marched on to Qumuq, where he received 
the submission of the. chiefs, except for Surkhai, who, as in the previous 
year, had fled to Avana, whither he had sent his family some time before. 
As noth ing further could then be done against Surkhai, Nadir marched 
towards Qunush , a fortress belonging to the Usmi. Ahmad Khan sent 
his daughter 3 * to Nadir, together with a number of his principal followers, 
*t kC r for .P ar £°n- Nadir agreed to pardon the Usmi, on condition 
tiiat the Gazgis of Doquz-Para gave him 1,000 horses and sent their 
principal families as hostages. The headmen of Tabarsaran then sub- 
nutted on these terms. In this way he settled the affairs of Daghistan ; 
he rewarded Khass Fulad and the other loyal Daghistani leaders and gave 
them leave to return to their homes, while he dispatched to Darband 
the hostages furnished by the Lazgis. He then set out for the Mughan 
plain (Chul-i-Mughan). 5 


1 T.N., p. 165. 

• Ibid. 

* According to Rondeau she was reputed to be “ the finest woman in the East.” 

of Q^bba Ir<Xm P ' 238) ' Stat6S ttat Nadir tanded the ? irl over to Husain 


‘Abbas Quli, 
‘Ali, the Khan 



CHAPTER IX 


Nadir’s Coronation 

Having defeated the Afghans and Turks, subdued the Lazgis and other 
rebels, and recovered, except for Qandahar, all the territory which had 
been lost, Nadir decided that the time had come to make himself Shah 
de jure as well as de facto. With his powerful army, which now contained 
a large proportion of Afghans and Turkomans, all of whom were Sunnis, 
he had little or nothing to fear from Tahmasp’s partisans. In order to 
give his action some show of legality, he determined to have the crown 
conferred upon him at the declared wish of all the leading military, civil 
and religious personages of the Empire. He had already, as far back 
as July or August, 1735", taken the significant step of sending raqams 
to all parts of the kingdom stating that, up till that time, his efforts to 
reconquer the lost territories had prevented him from establishing “a 
certain rule of government.” 1 One of these raqams was received at 
Gombroon early in September. It was stated therein that Nadir, after 
taking Erivan, would go to Tabriz or Qazvin, and that the Governors, 
Deputy Governors, Kalantars, Kadkhudas and other persons of note 
were to be in readiness to meet him at whichever of these two places he 
afterwards directed “ when he will establish a Rule of Government to be 
observed over the whole Kingdom, and then retire to Chorazoon 
(Khurasan).” 2 

Somewhat later, he followed up this step by issuing special orders. 
{faramin-i-muta af to all parts of the country bidding the army commanders, 
governors of provinces and towns, qadis, l ulama and nobles to assemble 
on the Mughan plain where a qurulta'P or national council was to be held 
for the purpose of conferring the crown of Persia upon the person whom 
the council considered to be most worthy to receive it. 

The site selected for the qurulta'i was close to Javad, on the piece of 
land bounded on the north by the Kura and on the east by theAras, 
immediately to the west of the point of their confluence. Nadir gave 
orders for 12,000 buildings of wood and reeds, together with mosques, 

1 Gombroon Diary, 8th /19th September, 1735. 

* Ibid. Strangely enough, Mirza Mahdi makes no mention of these raqams, 

* T.N., p. 167 ; Z.T., fol. 2x7 (b)_. Muhammad Ka?im states that these raqams were drafted by 

Mirza Mahdi (see the Kitab-i-Nadiri, p. 9 ; as frequent reference will be made to this book, 
it will henceforth be denoted by the letters K.N.). 

1 Howorth defines this old Turkish word as " a general assembly of princes of the blood and the 
military chiefs ” ; it is here used in a wider sense. 

96 



NADIR’S CORONATION 


97 


rest-houses, bazaars and baths, to be erected at this place. Splendid 
apartments for himself, his harem and his suite were also to be built, 1 
and large numbers of splendid robes of honour and girdles were to be 
prepared. 2 

Marching as rapidly as possible via Hasan Qal'asi and New Shamakhi 
(Aq Su), Nadir reached the camp on the Mughan plain on the evening 
of the 22nd January, 1736. 3 The Catholicos Abraham, whom Nadir 
had specially invited, arrived the next day, and was followed two days 
later by Nadir’s brother, Ibrahim Khan, Tahmasp Khan Jalayir, Pir 
Muhammad of Herat, Shah Quli Khan Qajar of Merv, and other persons 
of note. 4 At the end of the month, Ganj ‘Ali Pasha, who had been 
appointed Governor of Mosul, came to the camp in order to conclude the 
peace negotiations ; with him was his mihmandar or “ host,” *Abdu’l-Baqi 
Khan Zangana, the Governor of Kirmanshah. 5 

Most elaborate measures were taken for guarding the camp and for the 
preservation of order in it. Nadir’s own quarters were protected by a. 
body of 6,000 kashikchis or special guards ; elsewhere, discipline was 
strictly enforced by the nasaqchis , part of Nadir’s bodyguard who acted 
as a kind of military police. The zeal and efficiency of these men aroused 
the admiration of the Catholicos. 6 

During the period whilst the dignitaries were arriving, Nadir held his 
divan every day, listening to petitions, dispensing justice, and transacting 
other matters of a routine nature. The divan lasted for at least four 
hours ; when it was over, he would spend an hour or so conversing and 
drinking wine with his intimate companions, Mirza Zaki, Hasan ‘Ali 
Khan, Tahmasp Khan Jalayir and Muzaffar ‘Ali Khan. 7 

By the 20th Ramadan (3rd February) all the delegates had arrived ; 
they numbered in all some 20,000.® In the official record a total of 
100,000 is given, but this seems a gross exaggeration unless it is to be 
taken as including all the troops, camp-followers and servants. 

As the dignitaries were far too numerous to be received simultaneously, 
they were divided up into batches, each batch being given a separate 
audience in the divan-khana. The Catholicos Abraham and ‘Ali Pasha 
were amongst the notables received on the first day of the ‘ Idu'l-Fitr 
(1st Shawwal = 14th February). The Catholicos, although too frightened 
(as he himself admitted) to count correctly, estimated that 1,000 were 
present in the audience hall. Rose-water, perfumes and sherbet were, 

1 T.N., p. 167. Z.T., fol. 217 (b). 1 K.N., p. 9. 

1 T.N., p. 167 ; Catholicos Abraham, p. 282. 1 K.N., p. 9. 

* T.N., p. 167. 

* Catholicos Abraham, p. 286. See also the Z.T., fol. 217 (b). 

1 K.N., p. 10. 

* Z.T., fol. 217 (b). Bazin (Lettres EdifianUs, Vol. IV, p. 287) pats the total as low as 15,000. 



NADIR SHAH 


98 

distributed to everyone, whilst a band consisting of 22 musicians played . 1 
On the next day a further assembly was held ; on this occasion a committee 
appointed by Nadir, which consisted of Tahmasp Khan Jalayir and six 
other persons, announced on his behalf to those present that he, with his 
sharp sword, had defeated Persia’s enemies, restored her military glory 
and re-established peace within her borders. He was now, however, 
old and worn out by his campaigns, and all that he wished for was to retire 
to his fortress of Kalat. The concluding words of Nadir’s message, 
according to Muhammad Kazim, were as follows : 

“Having withdrawn my hand from tumult and the leadership of armies, I 
am occupied with worship at the shrine of the Eternal . . . Choose Tahmasp as 
your Shah; if your choice does not fall upon him, then select another of the 
Safavis as your monarch .” 2 

The insincerity, and, indeed, the absurdity of these last words must 
have been apparent to the vast majority of those present, but Nadir had 
carefully prepared the ground beforehand, and the delegates knew what 
was expected of them . 8 They immediately exclaimed : 

“ For us there is no Shah but Nadir. The Turks, Afghans, Franks (i.e. Russians), 
and Lazgis held all parts of Persia, but now, thanks to Allah, not one of these 
enemies (mu'anidiri) remains ; he (Nadir) has killed and captured all, and has 
cleared the page of the kingdom of their pollution. The people are (now) contented, 
secure, and in easy circumstances.” 4 

For three or four days this scene was repeated. Nadir thereupon 
gave orders for his great tent to be erected. This tent was supported 
by twelve poles, each of which was surmounted by a golden cupola; 
the silken tent-ropes were of seven colours. Carpets and rugs were spread 
-on the floor, and the throne, which was of gold set with jewels, was placed 
in the centre . 6 

When all was prepared, Nadir summoned the umara or leaders to 
attend ; on their arrival, the eshik-aghasis or ushers (literally, “ masters 
of the threshold ”) conducted each one to his appointed place. Nadir 
then entered and took his place on the throne, while musicians played and 
dancers and jugglers performed. 

After wine had been served and (as Muhammad Kazim put it) “ the 
heads of the guests had become warm ” with it, Nadir consulted the leading 

1 Catholicos Abraham, p. 298. 
a K.N., p. 17. 

» Hairway (Vol. IV, p. 124) did not exaggerate when he said : “ There was hardly a sensible man 
in the assembly, but saw through the thin disguise of these propositions ; and many saw it 
with indignation, who had not virtue enough to declare their real sentiments.” 



NADIR’S CORONATION 99 

notables regarding the settlement of the question of the monarchy. Their 
response was, of course, to the same effect as before : 

" Thou alone art our Qibla and our Ka'ba, and we do not wish to follow anyone 
but thee. We will give our lives to thy service and sacrifice our fortunes for thee 
as Shah.” 

When it was clear that the heads of those present were confused with 
wine, Nadir gave them leave to depart. For four days and nights this 
scene was repeated ; according to Muhammad Kazim, Nadir wished 
to discover whether any of the leaders, when heedless through the effects 
of drink, expressed preference for the Safavis ; none, however, were 
rash enough to do so, and all were emphatic in their protestations of loyalty 
to him. Nevertheless, Mirza Abdu’l-Hasan, the Mulla-Bashi or Chief 
Mulla, when, as he imagined, in the privacy of his tent, remarked : 
“ Everyone is for the Safavi dynasty.” Spies overheard these words 
and reported them to Nadir, with the result that the Mulla-Bashi was 
strangled in his presence on the following day. 1 

Nadir now felt that the time had come when he could safely give up 
the pretence of not wishing to accept the crown. He accordingly convened 
another assembly, to which he announced, through the medium of Tahmasp 
Khan Jalayir, his willingness to become Shah, upon the following con- 
ditions : 

(1) No one should abandon Nadir and support any son of the ex-Shah. 

(2) The Sunni faith should be adopted in place of the Shi'a, whose obnoxious 
and heretical practices must cease. The Shi'a faith had been adopted by 
Shah Isma'il and had occasioned much bloodshed between Persia and 
Turkey. "... if the people of Persia desire that we (Nadir) should reign, 
they must abandon this doctrine which is opposed to the faitn of the noble 
predecessors and the great family of the Prophet, and (they must) foEow 
the religion of the Sunnis. Since the Imam Ja'faru’s-Sadiq was descended 
from the Prophet ... the faith (tariqa, EteraEy the * road ') of the people 
of Persia is clearly this religion. They should make him the head of their 
sect.” 

(3) No act of treason should be committed against Nadir or his son. All 
should be submissive to than. 

All those present signified their acceptance of these conditions without 
demur ; having witnessed the tragic fate of the Mulla-Bashi, they well 
knew what the slightest manifestation of opposition or disapproval would 
entail. When the decision of the assembly was conveyed to Nadir, he 
made all present sign a muster-roll (mahdar-nama).* 

Nadir’s slaughter of the Mulla-Bashi and his substitution of the Sunni 


1 K.N., p. 20. 


1 K.N., p. 21. 



100 


NADIR SHAH 

doctrine for that of the Shi‘a have given rise to mad comment.* _ It 
seems evident that, while the first action was due to his determination 
to set an example that would strike terror into the hearts of his opponents, 
the second was carried out merely for political ends. Although he may 
have been a Shi'a in his earlier days and although he certainly had at times 
shown some zeal or, at any rate, respect for the Shi a faith, there can be no 
doubt that, if he ever had a ny religious beliefs at all, they were neither 
deep-seated nor sincere. Consequently, he had no scruple whatever 
in subordinating religion to political expediency. It appears m the highest 
degree improbable that Nadir, although he now publicly espoused the 
Sunni faith, was, in so doing, actuated by any genuine religious conviction ; 
his later career, as will be described in due course, affords proof to the 

^ifmay be regarded as certain that one of Nadir’s immediate objects 
in effecting this change was to facilitate a temporary 2 settlement with 
Turkey. It is quite within the bounds of possibility that he may have 
had an ulterior motive of a much more far-reaching kind ; might not his 
real aim in seeking to unite the Moslem world have been to make himself 
ultimately the head of it ? His ambition knew no bounds, and, as he is 
known to have cherished the design of marching to Constantinople, 
he may have considered that it would not be difficult to go one step farther 
and wrest the Caliphate from the Sultan. An additional reason for the 
change was almost certainly the fact that the Shi‘a doctrine had always 
been so closely identified with the Safavi dynasty ; that line had owed 
much of its strength to its warm espousal of the Shi‘a tenets, and the zeal 
which it had shown for these had naturally made the Shi'a priesthood its 
fervent supporters . 8 It therefore appears highly probable that Nadir 
felt that the Shi‘a * ulama , if left undisturbed and unweakened by him, 
might at any time use their considerable influence with the people to work 
for the restoration of Tahmasp or his son ‘Abbas. Nadir’s action must 
have been pleasing to the large numbers of Sunnis in his army, and it is 
certain that he would not have dared to make so drastic a change if he had 
not had so many belonging to that sect in his service. 

Having secured the unanimous approval of his nobles, military leaders 
and other notables to his elevation to the throne on the conditions laid 
down by him, he had a jatwa drawn up and issued as an official record 
of what had occurred. 

The Catholicos states that, even after this jatwa had been issued, 
Nadir, in appearance at least, continued to refuse the crown, but 

* In this connection, see Otter, Vol. I, p. 334. 

* As wiD. be explained later, he wished merely to suspend his operations against Turkey until such 

time as he could obtain sufficient resources to enable him to beat her to her knees. 

•For some further remarks on this question, see p. 279 below. 



NADIR’S CORONATION ioi 

that he yielded at length to the entreaties of the nobles and other 
dignitaries. 1 

In the meantime, Nadir’s representatives and Ganj ‘Ali Pasha, the 
Turkish Ambassador, had been discussing the terms of settlement between 
Persia and Turkey. It appears that Nadir, from the time when he left 
Qars in October, 1735’, unt ^ ‘Ali Pasha’s arrival at the Mughan camp, 
had been negotiating intermittently with Ahmad Pasha and ‘AH Pasha 
through the intermediary of messengers. Kalushkin reported to St. 
Petersburg, in December or January, that the Turkish Ambassador was 
making lavish presents to influential persons at the Persian court and that 
the people were longing for peace with Turkey, 2 

Before his coronation, Nadir made the deputies agree to his sending 
an embassy to the Sultan in order to negotiate a peace on the following 
basis 3 : 


(1) The Persian, shaving given up their former beliefs and chosen the religion 
of the Sunnis, were to be recognised as a fifth sect, to be known as the 
Ja'fari. 4 

(2) Since each of the Imams of the four existing sects had a column (rukn) 
in the Ka'ba assigned to them, a fifth column was to be provided for the 
Imam Ja'far. 

(3) A Persian Amiru’l-Hajj (leader of the Pilgrimage), with a position equiva- 
lent to that of the Amirs of the Syrian and Egyptian pilgrims, should be 
appointed, and be allowed to conduct the Persian pilgrims to Mecca. 

(4) The prisoners on both sides were to be exchanged, and none of them was 
to be allowed to be bought or sold. 5 

(5) Each country was to maintain a representative at the court of the other. 

Although Nadir had now obtained the “ consent ” of everyone to his 
accession, there was, nevertheless, some delay in arranging for his corona- 
tion. The reason for this delay was twofold ; in the first place, the en- 
graving of the new royal seal had not been completed and the dies for the 
new money were not yet ready. Secondly, the astrologers, on being 
ordered to discover an auspicious date for the ceremony, fixed upon the 
24th S'hawwal, 1148 (8th March, 1736).® 

Numbers of the Khans and other dignitaries now took their departure, 
without waiting to attend the coronation. The Catholicos Abraham left 


1 Catholicos Abraham, p. 302. 

1 Soloviev, Vol. XX, p. 1,334. 

• T.N., pp. 168-169. 

* For further remarks on the Ja'fari sect, see p. 279 below. 

* Jones (Vol. XI, p. 362) has mistranslated the last part of this clause ; instead of saying that the 

prisoners were not to be bought or sold, he stated that trade between the two nations was to 
be free. 

• T.N., p. 169. 



nadir shah 

102 

on the 23rd February/ jth March, because of the cold and of the shortage 

°^Oifthe following day ‘All Pasha left for Constantinople, to communicate 
to Ae Porte Nadh’s peace proposals in the form indicated above* ; he 
ms accompanied by ‘Abdu’l-Baqi Khan whom Nadir had appointed 
Ambassador to Turkey. ‘Abdu’l-Baqi Khan was instructed to convey 
to the Sultan the news of Nadir’s accession (although Nair was not 
fctuallv Shah at the time of Us departure .and had full powers to conclude 
aC ar / Wl >h ‘Abdu’l-Baqi were Mirza ‘Abdu 1 -Qasim Kasham, the Sadr 
aStarfSi and Mulla ‘AJi Akbar, the new Chief Mulk* ; 
the ecclesiastical members of this mission were to discuss with the Turkish 
‘ulama the religious points that were likely to arise in connect™ with the 
Ta'fari sect and the erection of a fifth pillar m the Ka ba. The mission- 
bore a letter 4 from Nadir to the Sultan which set out, at considerable length 
the former’s views on this subject and his reasons for urging the recog- 
nition of the Ja'fari sect. A special envoy was also sent to St. Petersburg 
to notify the Empress of Nadir’s accession ; this envoy reached St 
Petersburg early in July, 1736. 

On the 7th March, Nadir’s eldest son, Rida Quli, whom his father had 
just appointed Vali of Khurasan, left the Mughan camp for Mashhad 
to take up his new duties. 5 Nadir instructed his son to reduce to obedience 
*Ali Mardan Khan Afshar, the Governor of Andkhud, and he later ordered 
him to take similar action against Abu’l-Hasan Khan, the Governor 
of Balkh, who had refused to attend the ceremony on the Mughan plain. 4 

As the astrologers had recommended, the coronation ceremony was held 
on the 24th Shawwal, 1148 (8th March, 1736), “at eight hours and 
20 minutes after sunrise.” 7 

Those khans and other persons of consequence who still remained at 


» Catholicos Abraham, p. 310. It is probable that many of the Khans left for the same reason. 
The Catholicos states that there was a great scarcity of bread not only at Mughan, but also, 
throughout the Tabriz district, Ganja, Erivan and elsewhere. The rest of the Catholicos's 
description of the proc eeding s at Mughan and of the coronation ceremony is based on informa- 
tion which he received from an Armenian priest named Ter Thouma, who remained at Mughan. 
Ter Tho uma was housed in Mirza Mahdi’s tent and was therefore very close to Nadir’s place- 
of residence. 

• Catholicos Abraham, p. 310. 

• T.N., p. 170. Mirza Mahdi is misleading here, as it appears from his account that A1 

’ Pasha and the Persian Embassy left the Mughan plain after the coronation ceremony 
The Catholicos, however, explicitly states that they left 2 days before, i.e., on the- 
24th February /6th March. 

• See the Maktub-i-Nadiri in the Armaghan (Tehran, October, 1929), pp. 449-453- 

• Catholicos Abraham, p. 3*3- _ , „„„ 

• K.N., p. - 63. For particulars of the measures taken against these Governors, see Chapter XVI. 

» T.N., p. 169 and Durra-yi-Nadira. The 24th Shawwal, which is the date given by Mirza Mahdi, 

agrees exactly with that of the Catholicos Abraham, viz., 26th February (O.S.) or 8th March 
(N.S.). Hanway is in error in stating that the coronation took place on the 1 ith /22nd March : 
he is also incorrect in saying (Vol. IV, p. 127) that “ the Armenian patriarch, who was in the; 
camp, performed part of the ceremony, by buckling on his sabre.” 



NADIR’S CORONATION 


103 

the camp assembled in Nadir’s audience-hall at the appointed time, all 
clad in their robes of honour. The golden crown, which the Armenian 
priest Ter Thouma describes as being shaped like a helmet and adorned 
with precious stones and magnificent pearls, was placed on Nadir’s head 
by Mirza Zaki. All those present knelt down and prayed, save the 
deputy Chief Mulla, who intoned the prayer. Whilst this prayer was 
being uttered, all kept their arms above their heads ; afterwards, whilst 
the Fatiha or opening chapter of the Qur’an was being read, they bowed 
down, with their faces to the ground. When the Fatiha was finished, 
everyone seated himself in his appointed place, according to his rank. 1 
Then followed a scene similar to that which had taken place at Nadir’s 
reception on the first day of the l Idu'l Fitr (see pp. 97 and 98 above). 

Before taking their leave, all present bowed down before the new 
Shah. 2 * 

From the time of his coronation, Nadir ceased to be known as the 
Wakilu’d-Daula, Na’ibu’s-Saltana or Vali Ni'mat. Instead, he took the 
title of Nadir Shah, 8 thus changing his own name Nadr into Nadir. 
The poet Qawamu’d-Din made the Arabic chronogram 

Al-khair fi ma waqa‘a 
“ The best is in what has occurred.” 

This chronogram was reproduced on the coins struck at this time and 
later. 4 Some of the wits of the time, by transposing the first two letters,, 
reversed the meaning of the phrase without altering its numerical value, 
which is 1148 (1736). 5 * Further, some poet of Persian ‘Iraq, who was 
pro-Safavi in his views, wrote the following verse : 

Buridim az trial va az jan tam‘ 

Bi-ta’rikh al-khair fi ma waqa'a. 

"We have cut off all desire 
for property and life 
At the date ' The best is 
in what has occurred/ "• 

Muhammad. Kazim relates that Nadir, on hearing of these lines, put 
several poets to death. 7 

1 Catholicos Abraham, p. 311. Mirza Mahdi omits these details, simply saying that Nadir was- 
crowned “ with the splendour of Faridun and the pomp of Solomon." 

* Catholicos Abraham, p. 31 1. 

* Shaikh IJazin, p. 270. 

4 Catholicos Abraham, p. 330. See also R. Stuart Poole’s The Coins of the Shahs of Persia (London,. 

1887), p. 72 and plate VII. 

* T.N., p. 170 and K.N., p. 22. 

* Shaikh Hazin, p. 271. 

1 K.N., p. 22. 



NADIR SHAH 

1 04 

On the same day, after the ceremony, Nadir made Mirza Mu’min 
chS of the raqam writers and calligraphists, in place of Mirza Mahdi ; 
in order to console the last-named, Nadir appointed him his histono- 

F Thedly closed with more music, this time provided by drums cymbals 
and trumpets ; for three days and nights this music continued without 

1 As for the youthful ‘Abbas III, Nadir sent him, after his deposition, 
to join his father Tahmasp in Khurasan, 8 where he remained until Rida 
Quli put him and* his father and .younger brother, Isma ll Mirza, 4 to 

dC Nad?r appointed his brother Ibrahim commander-in-chief of the whole 
of Adharbaijan, and ordered all the Governors from the borders of 
Qaplan Kuh to the Arpa Chai and the limits of Daghistan and Georgia 

*° After ^he Nau Ruz festivities, Nadir discussed with his commanders 
the projected Qandahar campaign, and questioned the Afghans in his 
service as to the state of the country there. 

Some days were then devoted to feasting, 6 and it was not until the 
14th April that Nadir and his army left the Mughan camp for Qazvin. 7 
Before his departure he sent back the Kartlian representatives with orders 
to raise the sum of 3,300 tomans (^7^60) and to provide a garrison of 
500 men at Tiflis. This order provoked a revolt in Upper Kartli which 
was headed by Giv Amilakhor, Vakhusht Abashidze, Shanshi and other 
Georgian leaders. This revolt was stamped out later in the year by Safi 
Khan Bughairi, 8 the Governor of Georgia. 


1 Catholicos Abraham, p. 312. . f T tt 

5 Ibid., p. 313. It will be recalled that, after the accession of the infant Shah Abbas III, the 
drums were played for a whole week (see p. 63 above). 

* See Shaikh Hazin, p. 272, and the Bay an, fol. 14 (b). Hanway is in error m stating (Vol. IV, 
p.123) that ‘Abbas died early in 1736, and that “ some art was used ” to bring about his 
death. 

4 According to Muha mm ad Kazim ( K.N . , p. 468), the young prince’s name was Isma'il Mirza, 
but Shaikh Hazin gives him the name of Sulaiman. 


s r.]v.,p. 170. . 

4 Kalushkin reported that, after the coronation, there was much drunkenness and, in consequence, 
considerable disorder in the camp. See Soloviev, Vol. XX, p. 1,356. 


* T.N. t p. 172. 

4 For particulars of this revolt, see^Sekhnia Chkheidze, H. de la G., Vol. II, Part II, pp. 50 and 51. 



CHAPTER X 


The Truce between Persia and Turkey : Nadir’s Relations with 

Russia : Capture of Bahrain : Bakhtiari Operations 

• 

As related in the previous chapter, ‘Abdu’l-Baqi Khan and Ganj ‘Ali 
Pasha left the Mughan camp for Constantinople on the 4th March, 
1736. As yet unaware of this fact and of the nature of the Persian peace 
proposals, the Porte, on the 20th April, sent full powers to Ahmad Pasha 
to conclude the treaty ; it expressed satisfaction at his reports respecting 
the abandonment of the Shi‘a doctrine, but it definitely stated that it would 
never consent to the inclusion of Russia in the treaty. 1 

‘Abdu’l-Baqi Khan and ‘Ali Pasha reached Constantinople on the 6th 
August, having been five months on the way ; the former, on his arrival, 
“ received Honours which are never paid to the Ministers of any Christian 
Princes. . . ,” 2 

At the first meeting between the Persian and Turkish negotiators, 
the Shah’s letter to the Sultan was read, together with his letters to the 
Grand Vizier and the Mufti. In the discussions that followed, agreement 
was reached without much difficulty respecting the exchange of prisoners, 
the reciprocal appointment of ambassadors and the nomination of a Persian 
Amiru'l-Hajj * ; the case was entirely different, however, in regard to 
Nadir’s religious points. These points were discussed on the Persian 
side, by the Sadr, Mirza Abu’l-Qasim Kashani and the Mulla-Bashi, 
‘Ali Akbar ; the Turkish negotiators were Laili Ahmad Efendi, the 
acting Chief Qadi of Anatolia, Masihzada ‘Abdullah Efendi, the nominal 
occupant of that position, ‘Abdullah Pasha, the head of the fatwa records, 
and Ahmad Efendi, the former Qadi of Constantinople. 4 ‘Ali Akbar, 
the very capable Mulla-Bashi, is said to have taken a prominent part in 
these discussions and to have caused the Turkish representatives con- 
siderable embarrassment by his dialectical skill. 5 

The Turks flatly refused to accede to Nadir’s religious proposals ; 

1 See Rondeau’s despatch of the 22nd June /3rd July, 1736 ( S.P , 91, Vol. XVIII), in which a 
translation of the power of authority to AJjmad Pasha was enclosed (Sir E. Fawkener, the 
new British Ambassador at Constantinople had evidently forwarded the translation to 
Rondeau). Obviously, the Porte had not yet learnt of Nadir’s proposals regarding the 
Jd/fciri sect, etc. 

•Sir E. Fawkener, 7th/i8th August (S.P. 97, Vol. XXVIII). 

* Von Hammer, Vol. XIV, p. 344. 

4 Ibid., p. 343. 

* Otter, Vol. I, p. 134. 

105 



Io6 NADIR SHAH 

as neither side would give way over the two points involved, it was decided 
to draw up a treaty embodying the first three points only, and to send an 
embassy to the Shah to inform him of the situation. Abdu 1 -Baqi Khan 
agreed to accept the treaty thus truncated, subject to its being confirmed 
bv his sovereign, and he and the Turkish representatives signed it on the 
28 th. September* On the 17th October^ Abdul-Bacji Khan ? Abul- 
Qasim Kashani and ‘Ali Akbar were invited to a meeting of the Council, 
where they were officially given the treaty. In the preamble Nadir was 
officially recognised as Shah ; then followed three articles each dealing 
with one of the three points on which agreement had been reached ; lastly,, 
it was provided, in an annexe, that the frontiers between the two powers, 
were to be identical with those laid down in the treaty of Zuhab of the 
7 th May, 1639s 1 

The state of war between Persia and Turkey was thus officially suspended, 
pending a solution of the religious difficulties and the receipt of Nadir’s 
views* 

When ‘Abdu’l-Baqi Khan returned to Persia, the Porte dispatched 
at the same time, as its Ambassador, Mustafa Beg, together with Masihizada 
‘Abd ullah Efendi and the Qadi of Adrianople to assist him on the religious 
questions. 2 The Turkish embassy left Constantinople on the 23rd 
November, 1736, and was followed the next day by ‘Abdu’l-Baqi Khan 
and his suite* The results achieved by this Turkish mission will be 
described in Chapter XI. 

Whilst the Turco-Persian peace negotiations were in progress, the 
Russo-Turkish situation steadily deteriorated. War between the two 
powers had been practically inevitable ever since the march of Qaplan 
Girai to Daghistan and Leontov’s invasion of the Crimea. At Constanti- 
nople the situation was aggravated by the efforts of the French Ambassador 
to incite Turkey to attack Russia. On the Russian side, the repeated 
urgings of Nepluiev and Veshniakov to their Government to attack “ the 
barbarians ” when they were, apparently, being forced to their knees by 
Nadir, more than counteracted the moderating influence which the 
British, Austrian and Saxon Ministers at St. Petersburg strove to exert. 

When Russia at length decided to go to war, she was no doubt influenced, 
by the belief that Nadir would not only make no separate peace, but would 
actively co-operate with her against Turkey. Nadir, as has been seen,. 

1 Von Hammer, Vol. XIV, p. 348. Sir E. Fawkener reported, on the 24th September /5th 
October, that the Porte had ordered all persons having Persian slaves in their possession 
to deliver them up to the courts of justice in the places where they resided. In the course- 
of a month between two and three thousand Persian slaves were given up. 

•Von Hammer, Vol. XIV, p. 346. 

•See Otter, Vol. I, p. 37; he accompanied 'Abdu'l-Baqi Khan to Persia. The Armenian 
Tambouri Aroutme was a member of the Turkish Ambassador’s suite (see the Bulletin d&- 
I’lnstitut Egy-ptien, Cairo, 19x4, Vol. VIII, p. 174). 



THE TRUCE BETWEEN PERSIA AND TURKEY 107 

had made more than one attempt to persuade Turkey to include Russia 
in the projected peace treaty, but the terms of the Turks’ repeated refusals 
must have made it plain to him that they would never agree to do so. 

On the 28th May, 1736, Russia declared war on Turkey, and Kalushkin 
shortly afterwards received orders to inform Nadir of this and to notify 
him of the siege of Azov ; he was, further, to point out that this was the 
moment for Persia to take action against Turkey, when the latter power 
was being forced to use every effort to repel the Russian onslaught. 
Nadir’s gaze, however, was by now directed eastwards instead of west- 
wards, which caused him to reply that, while he would not undertake 
any hostile operations against the Turks, he would delude them with 
proposals of peace, and would not come to terms with them unless Russia 
were also a party to the settlement. 1 Kalushkin retorted that it was strange 
that the Shah, who had by his insistence embroiled Russia with Turkey, 
should now abandon his ally and seek a new friend in one who really 
desired nothing more than to ruin Persia. Nadir replied that the Russian 
military operations were all of a minor nature ; Persia had no need of 
Azov, just as Russia had no need of Baghdad. The real point was 
whether or not Russia would undertake a campaign against Constantinople ; 
the Empress, he said, should lead or send her armies thither. There 
was, however, no hurry, as Russia and Persia would first have to settle the 
plan of campaign ; he concluded by saying that he would not make peace 
till he received the Empress’s answer. In reporting these conversations 
to St. Petersburg, Kalushkin stated that the Persian nobles became 
noticeably colder to him whenever he urged a Persian attack upon Turkey. 
Persia could not, he added, in fact, resume the Turkish war, as she was 
in a dangerous condition, the country and people having become terribly 
impoverished. 2 

The Persian envoy who reached St. Petersburg at the beginning of 
July, 1736, after officially notifying the Empress of Nadir’s accession, 
assured her and her ministers that the Shah would make no separate 
peace ; he received in return the promise that Russia would likewise 
refuse to make peace with Turkey unless Persia were included. 2 

The news of the signature of the Constantinople treaty came, therefore, 
as a shock to the Russian court. Nadir, however, had not, technically^ 
at any rate, broken his word to Russia, as the settlement effected at 
Constantinople was, in reality, little more than a truce ; moreover, it 
was never ratified by him. 

Nadir remained for three months at Qazvin. Whilst there, he issued 
an edict to give effect to the religious changes which he had announced 
at the Mughan assembly. This edict forbade the use of the words. 

1 Soloviev, Vol. XX, p. 1,356. * Ibid. •Ibid. 



io8 


NADIR SHAH 


“ ‘Ali the Friend of God ” in prayer, as being contrary to orthodox usage. 
He also ordained the omission, after the Fatiha and Takhir, of the words 
“ May the King, from whom all our fortune flows, live for ever,” on the 
grounds that mortal man could not be perpetuated. 1 

Cockell states 2 that Nadir went through another coronation ceremony 
at Qazvin, “where the Ceremony of Inauguration of the Persian 
Monarchy is performed. Having girt on the Royal Scymitar, and put 
the Imperial Crown on his Head, he took the usual Oath ...” etc., etc. 
Neither Mirza Mahdi nor any other contemporary Persian authority, 
so far as the writer is aware, mentions a second coronation at Qazvin, 
and it therefore seems most improbable that it took place ; the investiture 
on the Mughan plain was surely sufficient. It appears, moreover, unlikely 
that Nadir would have followed a Safavi precedent by being crowned at 
Qazvin. 

When Nadir was at Qazvin, the news arrived of the recapture of 
Bahrain. For some little time Latif Khan (who had, not long before 
been reinstated by Nadir as “ Admiral of the Gulf ”) had been making 
preparations at Bushire for an expedition to Bahrain. 3 One of his ships 
was the Northumberland , an East Indiaman, which he had forced the 
Captain to sell for 5,000 tomans. When the Agent upbraided the captain 
of the Northumberland for selling his vessel, the captain explained that 
Latif Khan had taken him at a disadvantage, when much of his cargo 
had been landed and he himself was ashore ; he said, however, that though 
he had sold the vessel under duress, he had got “ a great price ” for her. 4 

Precise details of the Bahrain expedition are lacking, but it appears 
that it set out from Bushire in March or early April, 1736, when it was 
known that Shaikh Jabbara was performing a pilgrimage to Mecca. 5 

The Shaikh’s deputy resisted for a time in the fortress, but was forced 
by superior numbers to yield. On returning to Bushire, 6 Latif Khan 
sent the keys of this fortress to Muhammad Taqi Khan, 7 who,* in turn, 
sent them to Nadir. Nadir thereupon rewarded Muhammad Taqi Khan 


1 See . Fraser pp 123-127, who quotes (on the authority of Cockell) what purports to be a trans- 
9th°July *1736)^' It WaS issued some time in tlie monttl of Safar, 1149 (12th June/ 

* Fl ^Fraser ^ ° tter ^ o1 ' 11 P* 335 ^ a * so ment ions this coronation, but he probably copied 


,abbara 1154 of tate become v ° iy stmiiied - 

^ See ,J'^'\ P T 'J 7 ! a i:l u }J a l u ’n-NaManiyyat fi Ta'rikhi’l-Jazirati'l-'Arabiyyati (Cairo, 1920/ 
by Shaikh Muhammad ibn Shaikh Khalifa ibn Hamadi’n-Nabhan. The latter 
Site C °^ S a number of mistakes) states that the fort now known 

c?S.d 6 ‘ SlaId 0t Manama ’ “ believ ' d *«• I*® 

‘ ‘ SS NiUUliyTa 14 " ab0U ‘ thiS **"“• but lhis ” ame d0M Mt 

Ta, ‘ H “ n ™ nt “ msm °° thi3 “P*®* 0 ” *0 



THE TRUCE BETWEEN PERSIA AND TURKEY 109 

and added Bahrain to the province of Fars. This successful expedition 
led, as will be explained in a later chapter, to a more ambitious project, 
namely, the conquest of ‘Oman and the establishment of Persian naval 
supremacy in the Persian Gulf. 

In the previous year, at the time when ‘Abdullah Pasha was marching 
to his doom at Baghaverd, ‘Ali Murad, a young chief of the Chahar Lang 
section of the Bakhtiaris, had revolted. 1 After being defeated in the 
Isfahan district, he retired to the Bakhtiari mountains where he raised some 
20,000 men, including numbers of Lurs from the Khurramabad district 
and some of the Haft Lang Bakhtiaris. 2 Up to a point, ‘Ali Murad’s 
aims were similar to those of Muhammad Khan Baluch, that is, he declared 
himself in favour of the ex-Shah Tahmasp, but he intended to take part 
of the kingdom himself, as the price of his support. He is said to have 
addressed his supporters as follows : 

“ After destroying the rule of Nadir Shah, I shall set foot in Khurasan and 
rescue Shah Tahmasp from his prison there ; I shall (then) place power in his hands. 
Royalty is a great name, and many will rally swiftly to me. Shah Tahmasp will 
be content with (Persian) ‘Iraq and Khurasan, while I shall have Hamadan, Fars 
and Kirman .” 3 

This speech met with a favourable reception, and facilitated his pre- 
parations for the coming struggle. 

News of these developments reached Nadir at Qazvin, and caused 
him extreme annoyance. He issued orders to the Governors of Isfahan, 
Shushtar and the Kuhgilu province to collect their forces and march 
into the Bakhtiari country by converging routes and prevent ‘Ali Murad 
from escaping, while he himself entered it from the north, at the head of 
the main forces. Nadir’s wrath was increased when he learnt that the 
rebels had seized and carried off into their mountains a sum of 10,000 
tomans which was being brought to him from Fars. 4 

The Shah after passing through Khunsar, left his baggage at Charpas, 
whence he penetrated into the heart of the Bakhtiari mountains. His 
forces soon met with and defeated the rebels who thereupon scattered 
and fled to their fastnesses. One of their principal fortresses, according 
to Mirza Mahdi, was called Liruk ; it was, apparently in the very moun- 
tainous country E.N.E. of Dizful. 5 For over two months Nadir and his 
men searched for ‘Ali Murad, but they could find no trace of him, although 

l K.N., p. 42. The late Sardar Zafar, who had devoted much time to the study of the history 

of the B akhtiar is, informed me that 'Ali Murad belonged to the Chahar Lang. 

* K.N., p. 44. According to Sardar Zafar, most of the Haft Lang (to which he himself belonged) 

remained loyal to Nadir and co-operated with his troops in quelling the rebellion. 



no 


NADIR SHAH 


they inflicted heavy losses upon his followers and forced the survivors to 
submit. 1 At length, one of Nadir’s patrols, when halting near a well 
close to Gurkash, in the neighbourhood of the Bakhtiari fortress of Banavar, 
saw a woman descend from a near-by mountain and draw water from the 
well. Two days later, when she came again to draw water, the leader 
of the patrol had her seized and questioned. She denied all knowledge 
of ‘AH Murad at first, but, after she had been cruelly tortured, she admitted 
that the rebel chief and his family were in hiding in a cave on the side of 
the mountain. The troops immediately climbed up to this cave and took 
up their position in front of the entrance. When ‘Ali Murad saw that 
his hiding-place was discovered and that there was no means of escape, 
he killed his wives and daughters and then bravely defended himself. 
After keeping his enemies at bay for three days, he was forced to surrender 
through lack of food and water, and was then bound and sent to Nadir 
at Shushtar. The Shah was in a stern mood, and gave orders for the 
wretched man to have his ears, nose, hands and feet cut off and for his eyes 
to be put out. After lingering for two days “ in a pool of blood,” the un- 
fortunate ‘Ali Murad expired. 2 

Having dealt in this summary fashion with the ringleader, Nadir pro- 
ceeded to punish the Bakhtiaris by banishing 10,000 families of the 
Chahar Lang and Haft Lang to the district of Jam, in Khurasan. 8 Being 
impressed with the good fighting qualities of the Bakhtiaris, he enrolled 
a large number of them in his army ; these men afterwards showed great 
bravery during the siege of Qandahar. 

Nadirs name is not yet forgotten in the Bakhtiari country ; the fortress 
of Diz-i-Shahi (ten and a half miles N.E. of Dizful) is also known as the 
Sangar-i-Nadiri. 

Having thoroughly crushed the Bakhtiaris, Nadir marched through 
the Karkunan district (where the Karun and the Zayanda Rud have then- 
head waters) to Isfahan, which he reached on the 9th Jumadi II, 1 149 
(iyth October, 173J*). In honour of his arrival, the city was lavishly 
decorated, and at night was illuminated with innumerable lam ps. 4 

Nadir took up his abode in the palace in the Hazarjarib garden where 
he gave audience to some envoys from the Sultan ; a few days later, 
after presenting gifts to these envoys, he gave them leave to return to 
I urkey* ; their mission does not appear to have been one of any conse- 


* K.N., pp. 45 and 46 ; see also the T.N., p. 175 and the Durra-vi-Nadira -d ie8 Th* 

JSSffiSiZZXZrE**** ™ diUt-cou^ 

* KM’., p.,5?ind^ 4 detailS rCgarding Nadk>s rece P tion are taken from the K.N., p. 52. 



THE TRUCE BETWEEN PERSIA AND TURKEY 


nr 


quence the important embassy, under Mustafa Pasha, left Constantinople 
for Persia on the 23rd November (see page 148 above), and did not reach 
Isfahan until long after Nadir had set out for Qandahar. 1 Having 
given the Turkish envoys their conge, Nadir began actively to prepare for 
ins long-projected campaign against Husain Sultan of Qandahar. 


1 See p. 121 below. 



CHAPTER XI 


The Reconquest of Qandahar 


From the time when he ejected the Ghalzais from central and southern 
Persia in the winter of 1729-1730, Nadir always had in his mind the desire 
to reconquer the city and province of Qandahar and to remove once and 
for all the danger of attack from that quarter. 

Events elsewhere, however, continually interfered with Nadir’s plans. 
First, there was the war with Turkey in 1730 ; then came the Abdali 
campaign. He would probably have marched against Husain Sultan 
in the summer or autumn of 1732, had not Tahmasp’s disastrous Turkish 
campaign diverted his energies to the west. Thereafter, until the autumn 
of 1736, he was occupied successively with the Turkish war, Muhammad 
Khan Baluch’s revolt, the Lazgi campaign, the Turkish campaign of 173 5, 
the Mughan assembly and the coronation and, lastly, the Bakhtiari revolt 

With the conclusion of the truce with Turkey and the outbreak of the 
war between that country and Russia, all fear of invasion from the west 
and north-west was removed, at any rate for some time to come. The 
Lazgis had been chastened, 1 and the Bakhtiaris had been thoroughly 
subdued. Rida Quli Mirza had been sent in the early spring to punish 
the Governors of Balkh and Andkhud and to maintain order in the north- 
east of Khurasan, while measures were in contemplation for bringing 
about the submission of the Baluchis. 6 


Whilst still engaged on his Bakhtiari campaign Nadir had sent orders 
to die Governor of Isfahan to make a levy of 18,000 tomans as a contri- 
bution to the cost of the coming expedition to Qandahar. At the same 
time the Shah’s agents were busy at Gombroon requisitioning provisions 
tor the troops, and carried out their duties so rigorously that the inhabitants 
were reduced to the utmost misery. Besides being forced to supply 
provisions, the merchants and other inhabitants were made to pay 72,000 
nipees, a sum so extravagant that it has near Completed the ruin of 
Everyone. In the province of Kirman Nadir so denuded the people 
^supplies that there was a famine there for seven or eight years afterwards. 8 
What was done at Isfahan, Gombroon and in Kirman was no doubt 
earned out with equal ruthlessness elsewhere. 


Au^Ti^f ° 0t ' l0wever ’ *“">“5% quelled. 

• * Ia “““ S ' MSmAn *" '* PxiU Mtriiiond, * I’Am CM', Paris. 1861 „ 

112 ’ 


192. 



THE RECONQUEST OF QANDAHAR 113 

Nadir decided to inarch to Qandahar via Kirman and Sistan. Since 
much of the country to be traversed was desert, he gave orders for large 
quantities of provisions to be sent on in advance to the various halting 
places. In order to provide the necessary transport, the Government 
authorities commandeered large numbers of draught animals, including 
those that were conveying a consignment of the East India Co.’s wool 
from Kirman to Gombroon. The Shah’s agents even stopped caravans 
on the roads, commandeered the animals and left by the roadside the goods 
which they had been carrying. 1 

Before leaving Isfahan, Nadir rewarded his officers with coats of honour 
and with money presents graded according to their rank, and gave each 
of the rank and file 12 tomans in respect of pay and as much again as a 
bonus. 2 At length, after a stay of five weeks in the capital, Nadir set out 
for Qandahar on the 17th Rajab, 1149 (21st November, 1736), at the 
head of 80,000 men, of whom the majority were cavalry 3 ; there were 
large numbers of Khurasanis (including the Chamishgazak Kurds and 
Giraili and Bughairi Turks), Abdalis, and a strong contingent of 
Bakhtiaris. He took with him, as hostages rather than as volunteers, 
several prominent Georgians, among whom were King Taimuraz, Giv 
Amilakhor, and Bardzim, the Eristav of the Aragvi. 4 

Simultaneously with the departure from Isfahan, Pir Muhammad, 
the Beglarbeg of Herat, and Asilmas Khan (otherwise known as Khan 
Jan) left for Makran and Baluchistan at the head of several thousand 
men, with the object of reducing to obedience Muhabbat Khan and Ilyas 
Khan (otherwise known as Imtiyaz Khan), two of the sons of the late 
‘Abdullah Khan Brahoi. On completing that task, they were to rejoin 
Nadir at Qandahar. 

The Shah and the main forces reached Kirman late in December and 
halted there for a few days 5 ; after dispatching chapars (mounted 
messengers) to Sistan to order Fath Ali Khan Kayani (or “ Sistani,” 
as he was sometimes called), a son of Malik Mahmud, to join the royal 
army on the borders of the province of Qandahar with the forces of 

1 Gombroon Diary, 18th /29th August and 23rd August /3rd September, 1736 and J. A. Saldanha’s 
Selections from State Papers, p. 49. 

* K.N., p. 56. 

* Fraser, p. 128 and Fars-Nama, p. 181. According to the former, Tahmasp Khan Jalayir 

joined Nadir shortly afterwards with another 40,000 men. Hanway (Vol. IV, p. 146) 
gives a similar figure, but he is in error in stating that Nadir marched via Khurasan. 

4 Vakhusht, H. de la G., Vol. II, Part I, p. 132, and Sekhnia Chkheidze, H, do la G., Vol. II, 
Part II, p. 52. 

* Henry Savage {who had succeeded Wbittwell at Kirman) reported that he had been forced 
• to make Nadir a present to the value of 160 tomans, “ the Dutch having led the way with 

a more considerable one.’ 1 ( Gombroon Diary, ist/i2th January, 1737). In February, 1737, 
Savage stated that " the King has sent orders to seize all the beasts again to carry Powder 
and Shott and draw Cannon to Candahar ” ; this, he said, would make it impossible for 
him to forward any wool to Gombroon for some time. 



NADIR SHAH 


Zabulistan, 1 Nadir proceeded via Bam, Tum-i-Rig and Gurg to Sistan* ; 
it crossed the Sistan-Qandahar border on the 2nd Shawwal (3rd February, 
1 737), and reached Girishk on the 1 8th of the month, after passing through 
Farah, Dalhak and Dilaram. Girishk was held by a Ghalzai force, but 
this place speedily surrendered on a bombardment being opened. Whilst 
at Giriskh, Nadir sent his brother-in-law, Kalb ‘Ali Khan, with part of 
his forces to subdue the fortress and district of Zamindavar and the town 
of Bust. 8 

After a halt of three days at Girishk, the march was resumed via Shah 
Maqsud (a small town 30 miles N.W. of Qandahar) to the Arghandab 
river, close to the west bank of which camp was pitched. 

I^usain Sultan, having learnt through his scouts of the presence of the 
Persian army on the further side of the Arghandab, sent his commander- 
in-chief, Muhammad Saidal Khan, and another of his leaders named 
Yunus Khan to deliver a surprise attack that night upon the Persians. 4 
Each of these commanders was at the head of 8,000 picked horsemen. 
Unfortunately for the Afghans, not only did they lose touch with one 
another in the darkness, but they had also not kept their plans sufficiently 
secret. ‘Abdu’l-Ghani Khan, the Abdali leader, had heard of the im- 
pending attack, and had sent out a strong body of his men to parry it. 
These Abdalis, on coming into contact with Yunus Khan’s men in the 
darkness, pretended to be Saidal’s troops, and called out to the Ghalzais 
in Pashtu. Yunus Khan and his men were completely taken in, and had 
begun fraternising with the Abdalis when the latter suddenly assailed them 
and inflicted very heavy casualties. Hearing the fighting, Saidal hastened 
to the rescue, but was unable to retrieve the situation, and sustained such 
losses that he eventually had to withdraw to Qandahar ; he lost many 
more men from drowning when fording the Arghandab. 6 

On the following morning Nadir and his troops crossed the Arghandab 
at Kokaran, a village seven miles to the west of Qandahar, and then 
advanced towards the Qaitul ridge on which the north-western defences 
W 1 " y re seated. Despite cannon fire from the fort on the 
lotty Kuh-i-Laka, at the south-western end of the ridge, the Persian army 

1 K.N., p. 63. 

that Nadir haSto have the thiS r01 i te m i 8 5 8 > mentions 

his meCso that £S. ZL * ^ - dge ™ dened b V means of the axes carried by 

yi-Tabarkand (see de KhZtikoff? Ip. consequentl y 136041116 ^own as Gardana- 

Mahdi ( who ma7 be correct), Husain himself took part in 
defied than that ^°Mkza' Mahdi) 178 ( Mu ^ ammad Ka?im’s account is very much more 



THE RECONQUEST OF QANDAHAR 


n 5 



crossed a projecting spur of this mountain, and, after skirting the southern 
walls of the city, encamped on the plain to the east of it. 1 

On the 9th April, Nadir moved his camp a short distance to Surkh 
Shir, a place two miles to the S.E. of Qandahar, where he caused a whole 
city to be built, complete with walls and citadel, bazaars, mosques, baths 
and rest houses 2 ; according to ‘Abdu’l-Karim, he ordered each of his men 
to build a house there. 8 To this new city he gave the name of Nadirabad. 

Meanwhile, the Persian forces had begun the siege of Qandahar. 
As Aurangzib and, later, his brother Dara Shukuh, had found to their 
cost in the middle of the previous century, the city was so strongly fortified 
as to be impregnable unless the besiegers had heavy and efficient artillery. 
It was protected on the north-west by the Qaitul ridge and on its other sides 
by enormously strong walls, made of dried mud strengthened with chopped 

1 T . N ., p. 178. 

* Ibid., p. 179. See also Durra-yi-Nadira, p. 160. 

* Bay an, folio 14 (b). 



NADIR SHAH 


116 


straw and stones 1 ; in places, these walls were no less than thirty feet 
thick. 2 

As Nadir was, as usual, deficient in siege artillery, he was forced to 
adopt blockading methods similar to those which he had employed during 
the siege of Baghdad. A ring of strong forts was built round Qandahar ; 
between these forts, towers were placed at intervals of ioo yards, and others, 
were afterwards added. 

Since Husain Sultan had received ample warning of Nadir's intention 
to besiege Qandahar, he had laid in large quantities of provisions, so the 
siege was likely to prove a long one. Nadir, however, had one great 
advantage over Aurangzib in that his army, which consisted largely of hardy 
mountaineers and men from the uplands of Khurasan, was far better able 
to withstand the rigours of a winter campaign than Aurangzib’s Indian 
troops had been ; he was thus able to contemplate a siege of several 
months’ duration with comparative equanimity. The only serious problem 
was the provisioning of his large army, which required far more food than 
the country surrounding Qandahar could supply. Reference has already 
been made to the privations which the inhabitants of Kirman had to undergo 
as a result of the depletion of their resources in order to provide supplies 
for the army ; this was not all that the unfortunate people of that province 
had to endure, for draught animals became so scarce that, in February, 
1738, men and women were compelled to act as porters from the Kirman 
district to Qandahar, the men having to carry fifteen, and women seven, 
Tabrizi maunds (some 97 and 45 lbs. respectively) of grain. 8 Provisions 
were also obtained from Sistan. 


In May news of the capture of Bust was received at the camp, and the 
0 Safa fell soon after. Imam Verdi Beg Qiriqlu then advanced 
against Qal at-i-Ghalzai, which fell after a siege lasting over two months, 
. ^ Sultan ’s sons named Muhammad, his general Saidal 

and a number of other Ghalzai leaders were captured and brought to 
Nadxrabad. Nadir had Saidal deprived of his sight, because he looked 
upon him as a dangerous man. 4 

On the iithMuharram, nyo (nth May, 1737), Nadir dispatched 
Muhammad Khan Turkoman, the former Safavi general, on a Mission 
to Muhammad Shah. The reason for this mission was that, when a 
Perstan detachment had defeated some Ghalzais a few farsakhs beyond 
yal at-i-Ghalzai, and the survivors had fled over the Indian frontier, 

ft’ posifa Z e OTders to attempt “° assault 
AumLBibWafcSSSd •“ ““f* we “ towaver, that 

* Perrier's Caravan Journeys and Wanderings \n Persia 

, - Coated hyCap^W. JesfeeJjE^on, if 5 6 p ^{f amstan > Turkistan and Beloochistan 
‘ Tjf r °^ t i^ ary (V ° lume V * Ist / l2th - March, 1738)'. 3 7 * 



THE RECONQUEST OF QANDAHAR 117 

the Mughal authorities, despite the repeated requests that had been made 
to them, made no attempt to stop the fugitives. 1 * * Muhammad Khan 
Turkoman had orders not to stay for more than 40 days at the Mughal 
Court, but, as will be seen later, he remained there for over a 
year. 

Muhammad Kazim describes in great detail the operations of Pir 
Muhammad and Asilmas Khan in Baluchistan. Marching by way of 
Bandar ‘Abbas and the Makran coast, these leaders and their men entered 
Baluchistan, and soon after encountered and defeated Muhabbat Khan, 
the eldest son of the late ‘Abdullah Khan. The two commanders then 
proceeded to Shal (Quetta), whence they pressed on towards Qalat (Kalat) ; 
on this march the men suffered greatly from thirst, but they nevertheless 
defeated Muhabbat Khan’s forces a second time. The Khan then fled 
to his fortress of Mustang and, after consulting his brother Ilyas, aban- 
doned further resistance ; the two brothers thereupon went to Qandahar 
and submitted to Nadir. The Shah received them kindly, took Muhabbat 
Khan into his service, and appointed him Governor of Baluchistan * a 

The submission of these two leaders by no means ended the resistance 
of the Baluch tribes, and Pir Muhammad and Asilmas Khan had much 
further fighting. After a long siege, they took the fortress of Jalq, 
which was, apparently, near Shal. Differences then arose between Pir 
Muhammad and Asilmas Khan, owing, it seems, to the former chafing 
at the control which his companion sought to maintain over him. Pir 
Muhammad’s enemies took advantage of this quarrel to report to Nadir 
that he was planning to rebel, with the result that the Shah had him 
beheaded. When it became apparent later that Pir Muhammad had 
been falsely accused, Nadir is said to have felt much remorse. 8 

After the execution of Pir Muhammad, Asilmas Khan was relieved 
by Nadir’s brother-in-law, Fath ‘AH Khan, who, in the course of another 
three months or so, reduced the whole of Baluchistan to obedience. 

All this time the Persian forces which Nadir had detached at Girishk 
had been endeavouring to subdue the Afghans in the Zamindavar district ; 
they met with such determined resistance that it was not until the end 
of January, 1738, that they completed their task. 4 * 

By the beginning of 1738 the greater part of Baluchistan and the dis- 
tricts of Zamindavar and Qal‘at-i-Ghalzai had been thoroughly subdued, 
thus rendering available for the siege of Qandahar a large proportion 
of the troops who had been operating in those parts. Until reinforced 

1 T.N., p. 190. 

* K.N., p. 92 ; see also T.N., p. 182. 

*K.N., pp. 120-125. 

‘ Nadir's brother-in-law Kalb ‘Ali Khan was in command of these operations, but he was so 

unsuccessful and sustained such losses that Nadir dismissed him and had him bastinadoed. 



NADIR SHAH 


118 

by these men, Nadir had made no attempt to force his way through the 
formidable defences of Qandahar. Hie was now able to adopt more 
vigorous measures. 

On the 9th Shawwal, 1150 (30th January, 1738), Nadir’s troops 
attacked the defences at several points, and met with a certain measure of 
success. A number of the outer bastions and towers on the plain were 
taken; simultaneously, another body of men scaled the north-eastern end of 
the Qaitul ridge near the steps known as the Chihil Zina, 1 where they took a 
strong stone tower. The Persians then, with the greatest difficulty, hauled 
cannon and mortars up to this commanding position, whence they were able 
to bombard much of the fortress, including an extremely strong tower 
further to the south-west known as the Burj-i-Dada. 2 

Although the fire of these cannon caused considerable damage to the 
fortifications, the defenders worked so zealously every night repairing the 
breaches that the walls remained, apparently, as strong as ever. 3 

As the Bakhtiari contingent had repeatedly urged Nadir to allow them 
to deliver an assault, he at length gave them permission to do so : accord- 
ingly, on the 13th March, 900 volunteers, of whom one-third were 
Bakhtiaris and the remainder Abdalis and Chamishgazak Kurds, advanced 
to the attack. Husain, however, had received warning beforehand, and 
had concentrated his men at the threatened point ; the result was 
that the assailants were repulsed with the loss of 200 killed and 
wounded. 4 

It was probably at this stage (if Muhammad Kazim is to be believed) 
that a man named Dad (or Dayad) Khan came to one of Nadir’s commanders 
and offered to enter Qandahar and glean particulars of the state of the 
defences. As this man had previously served under Husain and had 
complained to him of Nadir’s ways, he would, he said, have no difficulty 
in gaining access to the Ghalzai leader and obtaining much valuable 
information. On Dad Khan’s offer being accepted, he departed on his 
mission. He was well received by Husain, and succeeded in obtain- 
ing all the data that he required. Alleging that he was going to 
assassinate Nadir, he then made his way back to the Persian lines. He 
reported to Nadir that there were sufficient provisions in the city to last 
for three or four years. The walls, he continued, were enormously 
strong, but a way through could nevertheless be forced if a resolute 
attack were launched on the Burj-i-Dada and the lines behind it on a 

‘For a description of the Chihil Zina and of the Emperor Babur’s inscription in the chamber 
_ ff " 111 there, see Bdlew’s Journal of a Mission to Afghanistan in 1857, p. 233. 

'TJX., p. 185, Durra-yi-Nadira, p. 162. 

* K.N., pp. 144 and 145. 

J ° MS (Vo1 xi ; p - 406) ** *»' 



THE RECONQUEST OF QANDAHAR 119 

Friday ; on that day the bulk of the defenders always attended service 
in the mosques and left only a skeleton force to hold the walls. 1 

On the strength of this information, Nadir planned to attack the Burj-i- 
Dada in great force on Friday, the 2nd Dhu’l-Hijja (23rd March, 1738). 
Great preparations for the attack were made, and the men to form the 
spear-head of the assault were selected from among a large number of 
volunteers. To these men Nadir promised 1,000 nadiris 2 * (rupees) each 
and the spoils of the fortress in the event of success, but added sternly : 
“ If any of you turn your heads from the fray, I have ordered my nasaqchis 
to behead you and to make your bodies the food of flies and dogs ! ” 
One of the volunteers was a Bakhtiari mulla named Adina Mustaufi. 
Nadir, in surprise, said to him : “You are a mulla and a scribe, and 
fighting is not your task.” Mulla Adina replied : “ May I be your 
sacrifice 1 ... If God will, you will have proof of my courage.” 8 

During Friday night 4 the troops took up their appointed positions, 
and on the following morning the signal for the attack was given from above 
the Chihil Zina. Instantly, the Bakhtiari and other volunteers rushed 
forward with scaling ladders and placed them against the Buij-i-Dada ; 
the first man to reach the top was Mulla Adina. The attackers sustained 
heavy losses, but, the defenders being but few in number owing to so 
many being absent in the mosques, the Persians captured the tower and 
pressed on. When Husain realised what had occurred, he made desperate 
efforts to drive the Persians back, but it was too late. Tower after tower fell 
to the assailants, and at length Husain and his bodyguard were forced back 
to the Qaitul citadel, where they were besieged. 5 

On Nadir bringing his heavy cannon to bear on the citadel, Husain 
decided to surrender ; on the following day he sent his sister Zainab, 
in company with a number of Ghalzai chiefs, to ask for quarter, this action 
being in accordance with the Afghan custom of nannawat . 6 * Nadir 

1 K.N., p. 145-153. There may be some truth in this story of Dad Khan, although it is not 
mentioned in the Ta’rikh-i-Nadiri (Nadir’s official historiographer may have deemed it 
prudent to omit anything that would tend to minimise the extent of his sovereign’s achieve- 
ment in taking Qandahar). Humours that the fall of Qandahar was due to treachery 
were certainly widespread, though they differed from Muhammad Ka?im’s story and 
indeed from one another; see, for example, the Tadhkira of Anand Ham Mukhli?, fol. 
163(a) and Otter, Vol. I, p. 336 (Otter's account is too improbable to be regarded seriously). 

* Ordinarily, as in this case, the nadiri was equivalent to a rupee, but, according to the T.N. 

(p. r83), there was another kind of nadiri (which, apparently, was never minted), that was 
equivalent to 3$ tomans. 

*K.N., p. 155. 

4 As the Muhammadan day begins at sunset, this would be Thursday night according to our 

reckoning. 

* K.N., pp. 160-165 ; T.N., pp. 187-188. 

4 Mirza Mahdi described this custom as being equivalent to the Arab dakhil (the phrase ana 
dakhilu futon** means " I am under the protection of so-and-so ’’). See also Elphinstone's 
explanation of nannawat in his Account of the Kingdom of Caubul (London, 1839), Vol. I, 

P -295- 



120 


NADIR SHAH 


respected this custom, and granted Husain and his family and followers 
their lives, but sent them as prisoners to Mazandaran. 

Nadir found imprisoned in Qandahar his former foe, Dhu’l-Fiqar 
Khan, the Abdali leader, and his younger brother, Ahmad (who was then 
between 14 and 16 years of age). Some years before, the two brothers 
had fled from Herat to Qandahar, but Husain had seized them and thrown 
them into prison. Nadir treated the brothers with great kindness, gave 
them a grant from his treasury for their sustenance, and sent them to 
Mazandaran. 1 

Nadir rewarded his troops, as he had promised, by giving them the 
spoils of the city, and handed to Mulla Adina, the bold Bakhtiari priest, 
a purse containing a large sum in gold. 2 

Nadir made the inhabitants of Qandahar move to Nadirabad, which 
he made the capital of the province of Qandahar, and then gave orders 
for the Ghalzai fortress to be rased to the ground ; the fortifications 
were so solidly constructed, however, that this order could only be partially 
carried out. 8 ‘Abdu’l-Ghani Khan was made Governor of the province, 
and other Abdali chiefs were appointed Governors of Girishk, Bust and 
Zamindavar. The Abdali tribesmen in Nishapur and elsewhere in 
Khurasan were brought en masse to Qandahar (where they had formerly 
lived) and were given the lands of the Hotiki Ghalzais (the clan to which 
Blusain belonged), while the latter were transferred to Khurasan and 
settled on the lands vacated by the Abdalis. Several thousand young 

Ghalzais were enrolled in Nadir’s bodyguard instead of being sent to 
Khurasan, 4 


With the capture of Qandahar, Nadir not only wiped out the stain 
of the defeat which the Ghalzais under Mahmud had inflicted upon 
Persia sixteen years before, but also completed his task of restoring the 
territory that had been lost during the disastrous reign of Shah Sultan 
Husain. Having very successfully acted as the saviour of his country, 
a lr was now about to essay the role of world conqueror. Has striking 
military successes must have encouraged the belief that the mantle of 
Alexander or of Timur had fallen upon him. 

Nadir remained at Nadirabad for two months after the fall of Qandahar ; 
during this period he was busy completing his preparations for the Indian 
expedition, the reasons for which will be examined in the next chapter. 

In response to a summons from the Shah, Mustafa Pasha, the Turkish 

* K’ W'” p its ^ alS0 <AMu,1 - Karim 'Alavi’s Ta’rikh-i-Ahmad, p. 4. 

0-^798), £ iStf S&JzsgZ fX ££££ 




Ruins of the Citadel of Oandahar f Husain abad) 



View from the Citadel, looking north 


Photographs by Mr . G . T . Sy'ann 


[Facing page 120 



121 


THE RECONQUEST OF QANDAHAR 

Ambassador, and his suite, who had reached Isfahan at the end of July, 
1737, left for Nadirabad at the beginning of February, 1738, accom- 
panied by ‘Abdu’l-Baqi Khan ; the two Ambassadors reached Nadirabad 
on the 19th May. 1 On being received by Nadir, Mustafa Pasha delivered 
a letter from the Sultan in which he offered excuses for his inability to 
recognise the Ja‘fari sect 2 * or to agree to the erection of a fifth pillar in the 
Ka‘ba ; the Sultan also stated that the sending of the Persian pilgrims 
to Mecca via Syria might give rise to trouble. He concluded by begging 
Nadir to excuse his acceptance of the first two points. In regard to the 
third point, he suggested that the Persian pilgrims should proceed to Mecca 
via Najaf ; if they would use this route, measures would be taken for their 
protection and well-being. 

Nadir in reply informed Mustafa Pasha and his advisers that the 
questions of the Ja'fari sect and the fifth pillar for the Ka‘ba, were, in his 
view, the most important part of the treaty, and that the matter required 
further elucidation. He, therefore, appointed ‘Ali Mardan Khan Shamlu, 
the former envoy to the Mughal Emperor, Ambassador to Turkey, and 
instructed him to accompany Mustafa Pasha back to Constantinople, 
where the points at issue were to be fully discussed. 8 According to Otter, 
the Shah, when giving his last audience to Mustafa Pasha, charged him to 
give a faithful account to his sovereign of all that he had seen, and to 
assure the Sultan that he would have news of him as soon as he returned 
from India. 4 * 

Nadir’s diplomacy is worthy of notice on this occasion. He had no 
wish to cause a definite breach with the Sultan at that particular time, 
but, on the other hand, he would not submit to dictation from Turkey. 
He, therefore, damped, but did not extinguish the fire of religious con- 
troversy, so as to be able to fan it into flame directly it suited his purpose 
to do so. 

1 T.N., p. 189. 

* The Turks doubtless objected to this term, because of its ambiguous nature ; for its use to 

designate a sect of the Shi'a, see p. 279 below. 

1 T.N., p. 189. 

* Vol. I, p. 225. 



CHAPTER XII 

The Invasion of India : Qandahar to Karnal 


When Nadir became Shah of Persia in the spring of 1736, Muhammad 
Shah had been Emperor of Mughal India for seventeen years. The 
Mughal line, like that of the Safavis, had sadly degenerated in the course 
of time, and Muhammad Shah compared no more favourably with Babur 
or Akbar than Shah Sultan Husain had done with Shah Isma‘il or Shah 
‘Abbas I. The dissolution of the Mughal Empire had begun towards 
the end of the long reign of Aurangzib (1 658-1707), and in the dozen 
years that immediately followed his death three wars of succession hastened 
the rate of decline. An additional cause of weakness was the emergence, 
in the reign of Bahadur Shah (1707-17 12), of the Turanian (Trans- 
oxianan or Central Asian), Persian and Hindustani factions. In 1719 
Raushan Akhtar, a grandson of Bahadur Shah, was elevated to the throne, 
and took the title of Muhammad Shah. During his reign of twenty-nine 
years he “ watched, rather than contested, the progress of disintegration, 
while his court was the scene of intrigue between various factions.” 1 
It was unfortunate for India that, at the time when Nadir Shah decided 
upon his invasion, she had as Emperor such a man as Muhammad Shah, 
and that his court was divided against itself. 

It will be recalled that the Persian court had on several occasions 
requested the Mughal Emperor to close his frontiers to Afghan fugitives, 
and that the Emperor had replied that he would do so. Nothing, however, 
had been done, as was found at an early stage of the campaign in Afghani- 
stan. 2 Nadir, in anger, thereupon dispatched Muhammad Khan Turko- 
man to Delhi to complain of the failure of the Mughal forces to close the 
frontier : he gave the envoy strict orders not to remain at the Mughal 
court for more than forty days. When, in due course, Muhammad 
Khan Turkoman delivered this letter, the Emperor and his Ministers 
were much perplexed ; if they replied, by what title should they address 
Nadir P 8 Instead of deciding this question immediately, they resolved 
to return no answer until the result of the siege of Qandahar became 

iA S rl°! H i Story 4 i 1 ^? < L °? d ?. n - ^ 36 ). p. 267. by W. H. Moreland and Sir Atul Chandra 
uoaTOijee* ine state of India at this time was very similar, in some respects, to what 
it had been 340 years before, when Timur was about to launch his attack ; then, as in 

tQ i 73^/9i the country was much weakened by the struggles of rival factions for power. 
oee p. 117 above, 

• Shaikh FJaan, p. 286; Siyaru’l-Mvta'akhkhirin, p. 470; Bayan-i-Waqi', fol. 15(a). 

122 



INVASION OF INDIA : QANDAHAR TO KARNAL 123 

known. Moreover, despite the remonstrances of Muhammad Khan, 
they refused to give him leave to depart. 1 A whole year thus passed, 
and when, after the fall of Qandahar, there was still no reply from Delhi 
and no news of Muframmad Khan, Nadir sent him emphatic orders to 
return at once and to bring whatever reply the Emperor might wish to 
give. 2 

Without waiting for an answer to this message, Nadir set out from 
Nadirabad for Ghazna on the 21st May, 1738, and crossed the Indian 
frontier, apparently at or near Mukur, 3 a few days later. Thus began 
the invasion of India. 

Nadir nevertheless kept up the semblance of friendship with the Emperor 
for some time to come, and excused his violation of the frontier on the 
grounds that he merely wished to punish the Afghan fugitives. It is 
highly probable, however, that his expressed desire to punish the Afghans 
was only a pretext, and that he had for some time harboured the design 
of conquering India. The almost continual campaigns of the past few 
years had caused famine in Persia and had brought her to the verge of 
bankruptcy, besides rendering it difficult, if not impossible, for Nadir 
to obtain within her borders sufficient recruits to replace casualties and 
wastage. He had doubtless realised that, under such circumstances, 
he could not hope to succeed in his design of marching to the Bosphorus. 
As Persia could not meet his requirements, he must look elsewhere ; 
he could recruit the man-power he wanted from among the warlike Afghans 
and Ozbegs, but it was impossible to maintain mercenaries without 
money. The conquest of India, it must have seemed, offered the only 
solution to the problem. The ambassadors whom Nadir had sent on 
several occasions to that country must, on their return, have informed 
him of the enormous wealth, as well as the increasing weakness, of the 
Mughal Empire. 4 With the spoils of India, he could raise and pay more 
Afghan and Ozbeg levies, and so renew the war with Turkey ; besides, 
by invading the Panjab, he would be following the example of Alexander 
the Great, Ma&mud of Ghazna and Timur, and thereby merit the title of 
“ World Conqueror.” 

Another reason for the invasion, according to a number of contemporary 

1 T.N., p. 190 ; the Indian historian Muhammad Bakhsh (" Ashnb ”), op. cit., Vol. II, p. 51, 
alleged that the reason for Muhammad Khan Turkoman’s prolonged stay in the Indian 
capital was that he had become infatuated with a dancing girl there. This statement 
is not confirmed by other authorities. 

* T.N., p. 190. 

* The T.N. (p, 191) gives the name of the place where the frontier was crossed as Chashma-yi- 

Makhmur, which cannot now be identified. 

* Anand Ram, in his Tadhkira (Vol. 163(b)), says that " the train had long been laid and from 

these negotiations (i.e., the various missions from Nadir to Muhammad Shah) sprang the 
spark that fired it.” He adds that the above was merely the apparent motive for the 
invasion, and that the true reason was the weakness of the Mughal monarchy. 



- l24 NADIR SHAH 

historians and writers, both Indian 1 and European, 2 is that Nadir entered 
India at the invitation of the Nizamu’l-Mulk, the veteran Viceroy of the 
Deccan ; it has also been asserted that Sa‘adat Khan, the Subadar of 
Oudh, was jointly responsible with the Nizamu’l-Mulk for inviting Nadir 
to come.® It is certainly possible that either or both of these nobles may 
■ have been guilty of treason. Chin Qilich Khan, the Nizamu’l-Mull^ 
was of Central Asian extraction, and Sa‘adat Khan was z Persian by 
birth* ; consequently, neither may have had any deep feeling of loyalty 
to the Mughal state. On the other hand, the charge against them has 
never been, and now probably never will be, proved ; the only way that 
that could be done would be to produce the incriminating letters that are 
alleged to have been exchanged. 

Hanway, it appears, was fully justified in remarking 5 : “ It appears 
to me highly probable that Nadir did not stand in need of such instru- 
ments (i.e., the Nizamu’l-Mulk) for the execution of his ambitious 
designs.” 

After crossing the Indian frontier, the Persian army halted for a few 
days at Qarabagh, 37 miles south-west of Ghazna. When the Governor 
of Ghazna heard of the Shah’s arrival at Qarabagh, he abandoned his 
post and fled to Kabul ; the qa#s 9 * ulama , and notables of the town, 
however, came in a body to Qarabagh, and submitted to Nadir. 6 

Ghazna was reached on the 22nd Safar (nth June), and from there 
the army went on towards Kabul. Soon after leaving Ghazna, Nadir 
sent the following message to the Kotwal of Kabul : 

“ We are not concerned with the Kingdom of Muhammad Shah, but since these 

1 See, in particular, the Jauhar-i-Samsam of Muhammad Muhsin Siddiqi; the writer was, 
however, a zealous supporter of Samsamu’d-Daula Khan Dauran, the Amirul-Umara or 
Commander-in-Chief of the Mughal army and one of the leaders of the Hindustani party. 
Khan Dauran was very hostile to the N izamu ' 1 -Mulk who was a prominent member of the 
rival Turanian or Central Asian faction at the Court (feeling between these two parties 
was very intense). The accusation is also made in Rustam * All's Ta’rikh-i-Hindi (B.M, 
MS. OR. 1628, fol, 281 (b)), but it is qualified by the words “ it is said that " . , . See also 
the Hjzlat-i-N adir Shah by Amra Chandiri (I.O. MS. 4008), Nadir Var (a ballad on Nadir's 
invasion) by Nijabat, a Hmal Rajput (see the paper read by R. B. Pandit Hari Kishan 
Kaul before the Panjab Historical Society on the 26th September, 1916), and Tilok Das's 
Hindi poem (see W. Irvine's annotated translation in the 1897, Vol. LXVI). 

* » Otter, Vol. I, p. 355 ; Hanway, Vol. IV, p. 142. Belief in the Nizamu'l- 
Mulk s guilt was certainly widespread ; that it was by no means confined to India is evi- 

ky a remark made to Otter in 1743 by the Kiahya of Mosul. Wishing to imply 
that Ahmad Pasha was in collusion with Nadir, the Kiahya said : “ N'y auroit-il pas panni 
second Nizam ul-Mulk, qui trahit le Grand Seigneur, et fait venir le Roi (Nadir) 
centre nous" (See Otter, Vol. II, p. 365). Dr. Jadunath Prasad, in his (unpublished) 
thesis entitled The Life and Career of Mir Qamaru’d-Din, Nizamu'l-Mulk Asaf Jah I, is, 
however, convinced of his innocence. 

%i$alaryi-Muhammad Shah (B.M. MS. OR. 180, fol. io6(b)-io7(b)) ; the anonymous author 
« (Hk© Muhammad Muhsin Siddiqi) a warm supporter of Khan Dauran. 

s antecedents, see the ‘hnadu’s-Sa* adat, fol. 6 (a), and the recent work 
, VolTV r * ^ vas ^ ava ' J entitled The First Two Nawabs of Oudk (Lucknow, 1933), pp. 5-30. 

* TJf n p. 191, 



INVASION OF INDIA : QANDAHAR TO KARNAL 125- 

regions (literally, “frontiers” = hudud) axe like a mine (ma'dan) of Afghans, 
and numbers of fugitives have also joined them, it is (our) intention to extirpate 
these people. Be not anxious for yourselves, but undertake the obligations of. 
hospitality.” 1 

Nasir Khan, the Subadar of Kabul and Peshawar, when faced with the • 
task of repelling the invaders, appealed to Delhi for money to pay his, 
troops. In the words of Anand Ram, Nasir Khan wrote to Delhi that : 

... he himself was but a rose-bush withered by the blasts of autumn, while • 
his soldiery were no more than a faded pageant, ill-provided and without spirit ; 
he begged that, of the five years’ salary due to him, one year’s salary might be paid, 
that he might satisfy his creditors and have some little money at his command.” 2 * 

This appeal fell upon deaf ears, and nothing was done to support Nasir- 
Khan. According to the historian Ghulam Flusain, Khan Dauran, 
the Amiru’l-Umara of the Mughal forces, was primarily to blame for the • 
neglected state of the defences of the province of Kabul ; had he attended 
to his duties, Nadir would not have wished to come to India or he would 
not, at any rate, have had such facility in coming. 8 

When Nadir’s army arrived within two stages of Kabul, a deputation, 
consisting of the notables of the city, came out and made their sub- . 
mission to him. However, Sharza Khan, the commander of the citadel, 
offered resistance, and held out until the end of June. 4 * 

On the 14th July, Nadir sent an envoy to Muhammad Khan with a long • 
message complaining of his behaviour and stating that he (Nadir) had 
come to Kabul with the sole object of punishing the Afghans ; the people 
of Kabul having resisted him, he had been obliged to punish them. He 
concluded by expressing his friendship for the Emperor. 6 The envoy ■ 
left for Delhi in company with some notables of Kabul ; when the party • 
reached Jalalabad, they were stopped by the Governor and the envoy- 
was slain ; the Kabulis were, however, sent on to Peshawar. 8 

Since provisions were scarce at Kabul, Nadir took his army some • 
forty miles northwards to the fertile district of Charikar, in the Kuhistan, 
where food and fodder were to be had in abundance. 7 After a halt of * 
twenty-two days in this district, the army left for Gandamak on the 5th 
September ; on reaching that place, Nadir stormed the mountain fast- . 

1 Shaikh Etazin (Persian text), p. 287. 

* Tadhkira, fol. 163 (b) ; this passage has been published in Elliot and Dowson’s History, _ 

Vol. VIII, p. 71. 

* Siyaru’I-Muta’akhkhirin, p. 469. 

1 T.N. , p. 192. 

•Ibid., p. 193. 

* Ibid., p. 194. Shaikh Hazin states (pp. 288 and 289) that Nadir sent a trooper accompanied . 

by ten horsemen on this errand. At Jalalabad they were set upon by a mob and all but 
one were killed ; the survivor managed to escape to Kabul. 

* Ibid., p. 194. The town of Charikar stands on the site of Alexandria, which was founded t 

by Alexander the Great in the spring of 329 b.c. 



126 


NADIR SHAH 


nesses of the local tribesmen. 1 A punitive expedition was then sent on 
in advance, to Jalalabad, where it avenged the murder of the Persian 
envoy. 

Nadir and his main force thereupon advanced to Bahar Sufla 2 • a 
few miles S.W. of Jalalabad, where Rida Quli, in response to a summons 
from his father, joined the latter on the 7th November, having travelled 
from Balkh via the Qunduz (Badakhshan) district. 3 

In the previous year (1737) the young prince had carried out his 
father’s instructions to subdue the rebellious Governors of Andkhud 
and Balkh ; he had then, without any authority from Nadir, crossed 
the Oxus and, after punishing some hostile tribesmen, boldly marched 
in the direction of Bukhara and laid siege to the town of Qarshi and the 
fortress of Shulluk. Abu’l-Faid, the weak and degenerate ruler of 
Bukhara, assisted by numerous Ozbeg and other Central Asian tribesmen 
marched to the relief of Qarshi, but was defeated. Rida Quli’s forces 
succeeded in taking Shulluk and were still besieging Qarshi when orders 
arrived from Nadir to raise the siege and return at once to Balkh. At 
the same time Nadir sent word to Abu’l-Faid that he recognised his 
sovereign rights over Bukhara and that he had ordered his son to cease 
making war upon him.* Rida Quli obeyed his father’s orders and returned 
to Balkh, where he remained until he was summoned to Bahar Sufla in 
order to confer with his father regarding the defence of Khurasan which 
(as wll be explained m Chapter XVI) was then threatened with invasion 
by Ilbars of Khwanzm Nadir, apparently, first received news of Ilbars’s 
hostile intentions when he was at Kabul, and it was then that he resolved 
to invade Khwanzm on his return from India. 

the ^ ^ om QuH had brought from Balkh, 
Nadir made fte young prince Viceroy of Persia “ with power to appoint 
and dismiss Governors and (other) persons of authority.” A few days 

or^™ e /r C k d ° n ^ 1 of Us second s °a Nasrullah and gave 

twL* be ^ 0th ? SOnS s , hould > “ in d* manner of kings,” wear 

gf T ° /°^Z sMe ° f the head > “ of on 

the left On the 3rd Shaban (17th November, 1738), Rida Quli took 

te.ve of his father and returned to Persia to take up Us viceiegd dufe 

p. 195. 

•Tbid* 5311:10,11318 of Ri ^ a Q^’s Turkistan campaign are given in Chapter XVI. 

from from an Armenian correspondent 



INVASION OF INDIA : QANDAHAR TO KARNAL 127 


MAP SHOWING THE APPROXIMATE ROUTE FOLLOWED BY 

NADIR SHAH from BARIKAB to JAMRUD 

VIA SIAH CHOB and the TSATSOBI PASS. 



'"LANDA! 


m 




x 








% 




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\ 


CHINA "V 

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| \% \\ KI 






% 

,r 


% % 

5, % V* « 


4? 

% 


%//, 11,11 


x <3> 

V s * 
s-o, 
N- 5 &L 

V «* 
\ 

v» 


APPROXIMATE* POSITION 
OF NASIR KHAN^S FORCE 

nadir attacks nasir 
'^ Kl 


MksJID 


v /'i 






. , 4 PESHAWAR 

fj v *~, , IQMLS^ 


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JAMRUD 




iiiiilii«iiiniiin# 


On leaving Jalalabad, Nadir sent forward an advance guard 12,000 
strong, with orders to keep two stages ahead of the main force. 

In the meantime Nasir Khan, the Governor of Kabul, had, entirely 
by his own exertions, collected 20,000 Afghans of the Peshawar and 
Khaibar districts whom he stationed in the Khaibar Pass in order to bar 
the Persians* progress. 1 

Spies having reported the presence of this hostile force dose 
to the eastern end of the Khaibar Pass, Nadir resolved to adopt his favourite 
device of makin g a detour by an unfrequented and difficult route and 
felling upon the foe from an unexpected quarter. Having obtained the 
services of a reliable guide, he left his main forces and baggage at the 
village of Barikab, twenty miles east of Jalalabad, and turned off to the 
S.S.E., at the head of 30,000 cavalry, towards the small village of Siah 

Chob. 2 


1 Siyaru'l-Muta'akhirin, p. 471. 

* Mirza Mahdi makes no mention 


of a guide, but Tambouri Aioutine, p. 188, says that, when 



128 


NADIR SHAH 


No further place names on this route are given by any of the contem- 
porary authorities consulted, but it seems that Nadir and his men went 
on from Siah Chob in an east-south-easterly direction towards the Tsatsobi 
Pass. 1 Irakli of Kakheti, who, with a number of Georgians, accompanied 
Nadir on his Indian expedition, relates that, starting in the morning, 
they covered four aghach 2 before halting in the evening, probably at some 
point near China, four and a half miles N. W. of the Tsatsobi Pass. On the 
Shah arriving soon after, they went on again by moonlight, and soon entered 
a pass (the Tsatsobi) where the cold was very severe. Owing to the 
narrowness of the defile and the roughness of the track, there was great 
confusion, and it took five hours for the troops to traverse the pass, which 
was half an aghach in length. 3 

Nadir continued his march into the Bazar valley and must have passed 
through or near the village of Chora, 12 miles S.E. of the Tsatsobi Pass. 
From Chora he followed the trend of the valley east and then north-east 
until within a few miles of Jamrud ; it appears that he entered the Khaibar 
Pass either at its eastern end or else a mile or two further west, by scaling 
the intervening ridge between it and the Chora-Jamrud route. Which- 
ever he did, he and his men, though they must have been much fatigued 
by their long march of some 48 miles, 4 came up to Nasir Khan’s position,, 
and attacked it so fiercely that the Indo-Afghan force, after suffering 
heavy losses, was driven back to Jamrud and Peshawar, leaving Nasir- 
Khan and a number of other officers and men prisoners in the hands of 
the Persians. 

The advance on Peshawar was resumed three days after this battle, 
by which time the main portion of the army and the baggage and artillery 
had had time to join Nadir via the Khaibar Pass. Dismayed by the defeat 


twPwf ^ de 5 ? § tow te wa £ Somg to traverse the Khaibar Pass in the face of oppose 

^ ° ffered t0 g^e the army by a difficult alternative route 
S** ^ men to a point an horn and a half or two hou!? 3 
beyond the place where ha$ir Khan and his force were awaiting him See also Maior- 

°Z the demerit of the Peshawar District (lihore” 1865, p. 36) and 
^titled Fnends and Foes in the Pioneer Mail (of Allahabad) of 23rd August i88«! 
*Mir» Mahdi row scarcely any geographical details, merely saying that on ihe route v£ 

a «“* «» road to ZveS 

[ (orwacA)^ equivalent to the farsakh. 

S * f ^ridieti to his sister Anna (H. de la G., Vol. II Part II p 33s) 

the Farsakh^m the Proceedings nf A* Houtum-Schindler s Notes on the Length of 




Nadir Shah entering Peshawar 

Reproduced from ike MS. of ike Kitab-i-Xadm by kind permission of the ImtitiU X'ostokovedcniya , Leningrad 


[Facing page 128 



INVASION OF INDIA : QANDAHAR TO KARNAL 129 

and capture of Nasir Khan, the people of Peshawar offered no resistance 
to Nadir’s forces. 

Nadir remained for nearly four weeks at Peshawar ; whilst he was 
there, he received the unwelcome news of the death of his brother Ibrahim 
Khan at Kakh, in Shirvan, at the hands of the Lazgis of Jar and Tala. 
Particulars of Ibrahim Khan’s last campaign and of the manner in which 
he met his end will be given in Chapter XVI. 

Before continuing on his way, Nadir dispatched a strong force to ravage 
the country between Peshawar and the Indus and to construct a bridge 
of boats over that river at Attock. On receiving word that this bridge 
was completed, 1 he left Peshawar on the 25th Ramadan (6th January, 
1 739 ) 2 an d had reached the further bank of the Indus with all his forces 
by the 4th Shawwal (15th January). From this point the Persian army 
headed for Wazirabad, and crossed the Jhelum (which, like the other 
rivers of the Panjab, was low at that season) without difficulty. 3 

Near the small fortress of Kunja Mazra, 4 situated 1 2 miles N.W. of 
Wazirabad, at a road-junction, the Persian advance was opposed by 
5,000 to 6,000 men of the Lahore forces, under the command of Qalandar 
Khan, but the Indians were driven back to the fortress, which was then 
token ; Qalandar Khan and many of his men were killed. 

The Persian advance was then resumed, and the Chenab was crossed 
in safety. The Persian army advanced upon, and sacked, Wazirabad 
and it inflicted the same fate upon Yaminabad (Eminabad) and other places 
on the line of march. 5 The lot of the inhabitants of the Panjab was indeed 
pitiable ; not only did they suffer severely at the hands of the invading 
Persians, but they were also preyed upon by thousands of highway robbers 

1 Daniel Moginid (S. H. Maubert 4 © Gouvest), in his book L’lllustre Paisan (Lausanne, 1754), 
p. 160, asserts that a French engineer named Bonal (who had, he says, joined Nadir at 
Tiflis in 1735) constructed this bridge. Moginie’s work, however, is so highly imaginative 
in places that one hesitates to accept as correct any of his statements (such as this) which 
are not corroborated by other authorities. Sir Alexander Bumes, in his Treads to Bokhara , 
Vol. I, pp. 267-268, states that these floating bridges over the Indns could be completed in 
from three to six days ; such bridges could only be thrown across the Indus from November 
to April. 

* Anand Ram, fol. 166 (a). According to the Bombay edition of the T.N. (p. 197), Nadir left 
Peshawar on the 15th Ramadan ; Anand Ram seems more likely to be correct, because 
33 days appears rather an undue amount of time for his army to take to get from Peshawar 
to the further side of the Indus. 

' T.N., p. 197. 

‘The text of the Ta’rikh-i-Nadiri is obscure here (p. 197) ; it rives the name of the fortress 
as Kachha Mirza “ on that (i.e. the east) side of the river of wazirabad ” (i.e. the Chenab). 
No fortress called Kachha Mirza can be traced ; Sir J. Sarkar, in a personal letter to me, 
expresses the view that “ Kachha Mirza " is a mistake for Kunja Mazra ; as to the words 
an taraf-i-ab-i-Wadrabad (“ that side of the "Wazirabad river ") he considers either that an 
(“ that ’’) should read : in (“ this ’’) or that the account was written at Delhi, when an taraf 
(" that side ”) would mean the western side of the Chenab. This explanation seems 
better than the one which I had previously had in mind, namely that Kachha Mirza was 
at a point somewhere near Kachha Sarai which, according to the Manadl-i-Futvfr (fol. 8 (b) ), 
was xo coss from Yaminabad, on the road to Wazirabad. 

‘Anand Ram, fol. 167 (b). 



NADIR SHAH 


130 

who made their appearance in those troubled times. 1 Moreover, those 
people who fled to the hills for safety were there set upon and despoiled by 
the Sikhs. 8 

From Yaminabad Nadir marched to the Degh Nala, which he may 
have crossed by the Shah Daula bridge. 8 It was here that he heard that 
Zakariya Khan, the Governor of Lahore, had made a strongly fortified 
position on the banks of the Ravi to the north of the city, on the direct 
line of his approach. 4 Nadir, instead of marching direct on Lahore, turned 
due east for a time, in order to outflank the Indian position on the Ravi. 
At Mulkpur (or Mubarakpur) 5 the Persian sighted and then engaged 
a strong body of Indian troops under the Zamindar of Adinanagar 6 who 
were marching to the assistance of Zakariya Khan. The Indians were 
defeated, but a number succeeded in reaching Lahore. The Persian 
army crossed the Ravi near Lakodehr. 7 Soon after, battle was joined 
with the forces of Zakariya Khan, which, according to Shaikh Hazin, 
consisted of 14,000 to 15,000 cavalry and a number of rtiilitia. 8 Yahya 
Khan, the Governor’s eldest son, managed to cut his way through the 
Persian ranks, and hastened to the Emperor’s camp with the news.® In 
this fighting an old Indian warrior named Mirza ‘Aziz Beg is said to have 
greatly distinguished himself. 10 On the following day (22nd January), 
the battle was resumed, but Zakariya Khan, because of the inadequacy 


1 Shaikh Hazin, p. 292. 

1 Malcolm's Sketch of the Sikhs , in Asiatick Researches (Calcutta, 1810), Vol. XI, p. 238, and 
J* Browne's History of the Origin and Progress of the Sicks in his India Tracts (London, 1788). 

* See Note 5 below. 

* Anand Ram fol. 167 (b) and Siyaru' l-Muta* akhkhirin, p. 472. 

* Mirza Mahdi states that Mulkpur was 6 coss from Lahore. Professor Sarkar considers that 

Mulkpur should read “ Mubarakpur/' which is a place 9 miles north of Lakodehr. If 
this is correct, it seems unlikely that Nadir crossed the Degh Nala by the Shah Daula 
bridge ; it is probable that, in that event, he crossed the river further upstream. 

* This name is given as Adinagar by Mirza Mahdi (p, 197) ; but it is evidently Adinanagar 

(now called Dinanagar, 75 miles E.N.E. of Lahore and 8 miles N.N.E. of Gurdaspur). 

9 According to Anand Ram, Nadir wheeled to the right , after crossing the Degh Nala and out- 
flanked the Indians by marching to the west of their position. In view of what has been 
said above, this could not have been the case. In this connection, see Irakli’s letter to his 
s^ter (H. de la <?., Vol. II, Part II, p. 357), and Sir Alexander Bumes’s Travels to Bokhara, 
Vol. II, p. 16. 

* S h ai kh ^[azin, jp. 293. Muhammad Muhsin Siddiqi, in the Jauhar-i-Sam§am t fol. 6 (a), states 

irnat Zakariya Khan had 40,000 horsemen. With his usual biasi he adds that Zakariya 
Khan , owing to his understanding with the Nizamu’l-Mulk, made no serious attempt to 
bar Nadirs progress (see also Otter, Vol. I, p. 374). Shakir Khan, in his Tadhhira, 
^ allegation, adding that Sa'adat Khan was jointly responsible 

with tte Ni?amu 1 -MuUt for giving the instructions to Zakariya Khan not to oppose Nadir. 

* Anand Ram, fol. 167 (b). r 

author states that 'Aziz Beg’s deeds were recorded in a 
poem railed the Nadir Shah-N arm that Muhammad 'Ali Beg (who wrote under the name of 
Mulla Firdausi) composed at Nadir’s request ; Ashub quotes some couplets from this 
Pj 1 P: r 35 a&d ? n P* 44 1 \ I have been unable to ascertain whether the whole 
B ls J °^ 1 ? tere ^ t0 note that the poet Nadiri, of Mashhad, who is 
15 descended from Nadir through the female line, has written a poem 
pubMied 068 ^ 01 S ^ on,our en titled the Shah-Nama-yi-N adiri ; this poem has not yet been 



INVASION OF INDIA : QANDAHAR TO KARNAL 131 

of his forces and the failure of the Emperor’s generals to afford him any 
support, soon realised that he could not resist any longer, and asked 
for quarter. Nadir returned a favourable answer, and ordered ‘Abdu’l- 
Baqi Khan, on the 23rd January, to meet Zakariya Khan and to conduct 
him to his presence. 1 On the Governor’s arrival, Nadir treated him with 
great honour and respect. Two days later he again received Zakariya 
Khan ; on this occasion the latter handed over to the conqueror 20 lakhs 
of rupees in gold, several elephants and other gifts. 2 By making his sub- 
mission and paying this ransom, Zakariya Khan was enabled to save 
Lahore from being sacked. 3 

Nadir remained for twelve days in Lahore, where he behaved as though 
he were already master of India. He allowed Zakariya Khan to retain 
his position as Governor of Lahore, and he gave orders for the reinstatement 
of Fakhru’d-Daula, the ex-Governor of Kashmir, who, after being driven 
out of his province by a rebellion, had been deprived of office and was 
living in poverty in Lahore. Furthermore, he confirmed Nasir Khan, 
his former opponent, as Subadar of Kabul and Peshawar. 4 

During Nadir’s stay in Lahore news was received of the Emperor’s 
efforts to gather together an army to oppose him. He thereupon wrote 
to the Emperor, 5 * assuring him that he had nothing but friendly feelings 
in his mind ; referring to the Afghans, he said that, as India had suffered 
even more than Persia at their hands, it would seem natural that the 
Indian ministers should wish to punish them. He repeated his statements 
regarding the Emperor’s treatment of his envoys, and concluded by 
warning Muhammad Shah that, if the Indian Army opposed him, it 
would feel the full strength of his arms ; if, however, the survivors sub- 
mitted, he would pardon them. 

Nadir left Lahore on the 26th Shawwal (6th February, 1739), and 
marched to Sirhind, where, on his arrival ten days later,® he heard that 
Muhammad Shah had reached Kamal with an army of 300,000 men, 
2,000 elephants and a large number of cannon. 7 According to Ashub, 

1 Anand Bam, fol. x68 (a). 

* Ibid. 

• Ibid. Tilok Das, however, asserts that Lahore was sacked, bat his poem cannot be regarded 

as possessing any real historical value ; it is dear from Anand Barn’s account and also 
from that of Ashub (Vol. II, p. 137) that the city did not suffer this fate. 

1 T.N., p. 197. 

* TJV'., p. 198. This letter is not in Jones’s translation or in my MS. Shaikh Hazin (p. 295) 

states : " Twice or thrice from Lahor also, before he came up with the Indian army, Nadir 
Rbah sent a message to Mohammed Shah to expedite the return to him of his ambassador 
Mohammed TThan, But although they carried his ambassador along with them on their 
marr-li, they would not grant him his congi ; and at that time it did not appear what their 
design could be in keeping him.” 

• T.N., p. 198. See also Ghulam ‘Ali Khan’s Muqaddamayi-Shah 'Alam Noma, fol. 59 (b) 

(B.M. MS. Addl. 24028). 

* T.N., p. 199. 



NADIR SHAH 


13a 

Nadir took measures before his departure to prevent spies leaving Lahore 
for the Emperor’s camp with news of his movements. 1 

It is now necessary to describe what had, in the meanwhile, been happen- 
ing at the Mughal court. When the news of Nadir’s capture of Kabul 
reached Delhi, “ no one listened to a word or if he listened, he did not 
understand.” 2 However, on reports being received of Nadir’s continued 
progress, the Emperor summoned the Nizamu’l-Mulk from the Deccan 
to advise him. When the Nizamu’l-Mulk reached the Court, he found 
that his enemy Khan Dauran, the leader of the Hindustani party, was 
all-powerful, being in command of the army and possessing much influence 
over the feeble Emperor ; consequently, any advice which the Nizamu’l- 
Mulk offered received but scant attention, and little or nothing was done. 8 
There was much talk of setting out to repel the invader, but no attempt 
was made to send assistance to Zakariya Khan. At the beginning of 
Ramadan (13th December, 1738) Khan Dauran, Qamaru’d-Din Khan 
(the Ttimadu’d-Daula), and the Nizamu’l-Mulk marched out of Delhi 
at the head of the army, but they proceeded no further than the Shalimar 
gardens where they camped for the rest of the month. 4 Khan Dauran, 
it is true, wrote to Sawai Jai Singh and other Rajput leaders, 6 on whose 
bravery he set much store, but, as Sir J. Sarkar has pointed out : 

“ Rajputana had been hopelessly alienated since Aurangzib’s time, and Jai 
Singh and other chieftains were now aiming at political salvation by declaring their 
independence and calling in the Mahrattas to help in dissolving the Empire. The 
Rajahs made excuses and delayed coming .” 6 

The Emperor even went so far as to appeal to Baji Rao, the Peshwa of 
the Marathas, but reliance upon the Marathas, even if seriously con- 
templated, proved like leaning on a broken reed. 7 A summons was then 
sent to Sa‘adat Khan Burhanu’l-Mulk, the Subadar of Oudh, who, in 

1 Vol. II, p. 139. 

' Siyar, p. 471. While Muhammad Kazim cannot be looked upon as a reliable authority for 
the I ndian campaign, his information regarding it is nevertheless of some interest ; as 
he obtained it from Persians of his acquaintance on their return from India, his statements 
doubtless reflect fairly accurately the opinions that these men had of the I ndians On his 
hearing of Nadir’s invasion, Muhammad Kazim states (K.N., pp. 399 and 400) that 
Mu hamm ad Shah, on hearing of Nadir's impending invasion, summoned ail the qalandars, 
dervishes, diviners and ■witches in his realm and told them of the Shah’s terrible ways. 
The soothsayers and witches then busily prepared spells to repel the invaders. One wizard 
said : " we sh a ll bind the hands of the enemy firmly at the time of battle " ; another said 
“ we shall recite a spell and Nadir Sahib-Qiran will then be brought bound hand and foot 
to the Emperor’s court.” 

* ^ ?? 2 ( a ) ) states that when Khan Dauran suggested any plan, the Ni?amu'l- 

Mutk opposed him, and vice versa . 

4 An a ud Ram, fol. 168 (b). 

* Siyar, p. 472. 

* Nadir Shah in India, p. 31. 

1 Ibid,, p. 32. 



INVASION OF INDIA : QANDAHAR TO KARNAL i 3j 

response thereto, set out to join the Emperor in the third week of January, 

I 739* :t 

At the beginning of Shawwal (12th January), when the news reached 
Delhi of the arrival at the Indus of the force which Nadir had sent on in 
advance, the Mughal army at last set out, but its progress was so leisurely 
that it took a month to cover the four stages from the Shalimar gardens 
to Karnal. l 2 In response to urgent requests by the Nizamu’l-Mulk and 
Khan Dauran, the Emperor himself left Delhi on the 18 th Shawwal 
(29th January, 1739), and reached Panipat, twenty miles south of Karnal, 
on the 27th of that month (7th February) 3 ; he arrived at Karnal a few 
days later. It had originally been intended to advance further, but, 
as the plain just to the north of Karnal was a suitable camping-ground, 
being plentifully provided with water by the ‘Ali Mardan canal and 
protected by thick jungle to the north, and as it was deemed expedient 
to await the arrival of Sa'adat Khan and the contingent from Oudh, 4 the 
Indian commanders proceeded no further. A mud wall was constructed 
round the camp, the eastern side of which was bounded by the ‘Ali Mardan 
canal. Guns were mounted at intervals on the wall round the camp, 
which is said to have been fourteen miles in circumference. 5 * 

The numbers of combatants in the Indian camp are variously given, 
ranging from only 80,000 to the fantastic figure of 1,200,000 s ; it is 
probable that the former figure is close to the truth. If, however, the 
numbers of non-combatants are taken into account, the total may, as 
Sir J. Sarkar suggests, have been nearly a million all told. 

From Sirhind, Nadir sent out a force of 6,000 Kurdish cavalry, under 
Hajji Khan, to reconnoitre the Indian position. 7 On the next day the 
army set out for Ambala via Raja Sarai. Leaving his baggage and harem at 
Ambala, Nadir marched to Shahabad, thirty-five miles north of Karnal, 
on the 19th February. That same night the Kurdish patrols whom 
Nadir had sent out from Sirhind came into contact with the Indian forces, 

l Dr. A. L. Srivastava, op. cit., p. 63. 

* Sty or, p. 472. 

1 Anand Ram (fol. 168 (b) ) states that when the news was received that Nadir Shah had reached 
the Indus, the Indian commanders urged the Emperor to advance against the invaders. 

* Siyar, p. 472. 

* Journal of Mirza Zaman (Fraser, p. 132). Hanway (Vol. IV, p. 159) states that " some writers 

mention it as twelve miles.” 

* Mirza Mahdi, as stated on p. 131 above, gives the strength of this Indian host as 300,000 men. 

Sir J. Sarkar ( Nadir Shah in India, p. 34), reduces this figure to 75,000 combatants. The 
French adventurer de Voulton, in his Veraadeira e exada Noticia (which the present writer 
translated from the Portuguese and published, together with an introduction and notes, 
in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies, Vol. IV, Part II, pp. 223-245}, states that 
the Mughal army, after the battle of Karnal, consisted of 400,000 horsemen and 800,000 
infantry. There is no doubt, however, that the number of camp-followers was exceptionally 
large, and that some writers, like de Voulton, may have erroneously included their numbers 
in the total of the fighting force. 

* T.N., p. 199; see also Fraser, o. i«. 



NADIR SHAH 


134 

and a number of Indian troops were killed and others captured. 1 The 
Kurdish patrols then fell back to Sarai ‘Azimabad, a village twenty-three 
miles south of Shahabad and twelve miles north of Kamal ; from this 
village they sent Nadir their report, together with some of the prisoners. 
The Shah thereupon ordered these patrols to reconnoitre both to the east 
and to the west of the enemy position. 2 * 

On the 1 2th Dhu’l-Qa'da (21st February) Nadir moved forward and, 
rparrhing via Tirawari, arrived at Sarai ‘Azimabad early in the morning 
of the 13th ; here the Governor of Ambala put up a show of resistance 
for a time. 8 

Nadir learnt from his scouts and from Indian prisoners of the strength 
of the Emperor’s position, as well as of the existence, south of Sarai 
‘Azimabad, of a belt of jungle, traversed by only one narrow road, extending 
for eight miles in the direction of Karnal. He then realised that the only 
practicable course open to him was to make a detour to the east of that 
place, which would enable him not only to outflank the enemy but also 
to avoid this belt of jungle. If Muhammad Shah issued forth from his. 
lines, he would give him battle on the plain, some seven miles in width, 
stretching eastwards from Karnal to the Jumna ; if, on the other hand, 
the Emperor elected to remain inactive behind his fortifications, he would 
march on to Panipat and thence to Delhi. 4 * 

No further advance was made on the 13th Dhu’l-Qa‘da, but on the 
next morning (Monday, the 23rd February), Nadir left Sarai ‘Azimabad, 
led his troops across the ‘Ali Mardan canal and, marching south-east 
for some miles, camped at a point apparently just to the north of the 
village of Kunjpura, which is situated five and a half miles E.N.E. of 
Kamal and a mile and a half west of the Jumna. The Shah, at the head 
of some of his bodyguard, rode up close to the Indian camp ; after taking a. 
careful note of the disposition of the enemy, he returned to his own camp. 6 

In the evening Persian scouts reported that Sa‘adat Khan, the Subadar 
of Oudh, who was on his way to reinforce the Emperor with 30,000* 
men, had reached Panipat. 6 Nadir immediately dispatched a strong 
force to intercept Sa‘adat Khan and his men. 7 

1 T.N., p. 199. The I n d i an co mmand ers are said to have been most negligent asregards sending; 

out patrols. 

'Ibid. 

'Ibid., p. 200. 

'Ibid. 

'Ibid. 

'Ibid See also Sir J. Malcolm’s translation of Nadir's letter to Rida Quli Mirza in Asiatick ■ 
Res earches, Vol. X, p. 542 (for reasons which will be given later, this letter has to be used 
■with care as an anttionty.) According to this translation, the letter was written at Delhi 
,_.®™ phul-Qa da 11x5 (sic) (obviously a misprint for “ 1151 ”). 

I* fasalayi-Mutiammed Shah, fol. 106 (b), it is stated that Sa'adat Kharn 
secretly sent word to Nadir of his coining, but this seems improbable. 



CHAPTER XIII 


The Invasion of India : Karnal 

On the morning of the fateful 15th Dhu’l-Qa‘da (24th February), Nadir 
split up his army into three divisions. He ordered Nasrullah Mirza, 
who at that time was in command of the left wing, to advance from the 
Jumna towards Karnal, 1 while he himself, with a number of men, marched 
southwards between the Jumna and the ‘All Mardan canal in order to 
reconnoitre the enemy position and to inspect the field of battle. Whilst 
he was so engaged, the troops whom he had dispatched the previous 
evening to intercept Sa'adat Khan returned, saying that the Subadar 
had managed to elude them by making a detour and that he and his troops 
had reached the Emperor’s camp at midnight 2 ; they had, however, 
pursued him and captured a number of his men, besides taking much 
booty. 

On hearing this news, Nadir halted, his position then being some 
three and a half miles to the east of the Indian camp 3 ; here he was joined 
by Nasrullah and his troops. 4 

In the meantime, Sa‘adat Khan had gone to pay his respects to 
Muhammad Shah. During his audience, word was brought to Sa'adat 
Khan that the Qizilbash troops were plundering his baggage. 5 Infuri- 
ated by this news, he took a hurried leave of the Emperor ; despite all 
endeavours to restrain him, he called his men to arms, and rushed 
off to try and recover his baggage. His troops, who had been con- 
tinually on the march for a whole month and who were unused to forced 

1 T.N., p. 200. Mirza Mahdi says that Nadir ordered Nasrullah to advance towards Kama! 
" from the north side of the river Jumna." Sir J. Sarkar ( Nadir Shah in India, p. 37). 
takes this as meaning that the young Prince had crossed the Jumna, which, as he rightly 
observes, was unlikely. The explanation may be that Nasrullah and his men had been, 
advancing to, or were posted at, some point dose to where ihe village of Khirajpur (1 mile 
E.N.E. of Kunjpura) now stands ; for a mile or so to the S.E., and S. of Khirajpur, the 
Jumna flows from east to west before turning south again ; thus, Nasrullah, when at or 
near Khirajpur, would have been north of the Ju mna . 

* T.N., p. 201. ‘AbduT-Karim [Bayan, fol. 16 (a) ), Ashub and other authorities confirm that 

Sa'adat Tfhan reached the Emperor’s camp at this time. Rustam ‘Ali (fol. 283 (a) ) gives 
the strength of his force as only 20,000 men. Owing to a wound received three months 
before, Sa'adat Rbati was unable to ride a horse, and had either to be carried on a portable 
(hair or to ride on an elephant. 

* T.N., p. 201. 

‘Ibid. 

* Bayan, fol. 16 (b) ; see also Harcharan Das’s Chahar GuMhar Shuja'i, id. 82 (a). Harcharan 

Das states (fol. 81 (a) ) that Muhammad Shah had doubts as to Sa'adat Khan’s loyalty,, 
and made Mm swear on the Qur’an that he would be faithful. 

135 



NADIR SHAH 


136 

marches, were much fatigued, and but few responded to his call ; some 
of his men, it is said, believed that he was still with the Emperor, while 
others, putting the care of their horses before everything else, refused to 
stir. Sa'adat Khan nevertheless pressed impetuously on, although 
followed only by 1,000 cavalry and some hundreds of his infantry. 1 

When Sa‘adat Khan and his small force emerged from the Indian lines, 
they encountered some Persian patrols who were advancing from the 
opposite direction. These Persians immediately feigned flight, in the 
hope of luring Sa‘adat Khan and his men further away from their lines. 2 
The ruse succeeded, for Sa‘adat Khan hastened after the retreating foe, 
sending urgent appeals to the camp for reinforcements to enable him 
(as he imagined) to follow up his success. The Emperor wished to go 
in person to Sa‘adat Khan’s assistance, but the Nizamu’l-Mulk and Khan 
Dauran dissuaded him, saying that it would be a mistake to fight that day. 3 

The Emperor then asked the Nizamu’l-Mulk for his advice, who replied 
that, as Khan Dauran was in command of the right wing and therefore 
nearest to Sa'adat Khan,, he should go to the assistance of the last-named. 4 
The Emperor agreed, and Khan Dauran accordingly set out, at the head of 
between 8,000 and 9,000 cavalry. 5 Ashub, who was at Karnal, asserts 
that Khan Dauran’s men imagined that the battle would be similar to the 
faction fighting in the streets and bazaars of Delhi, 6 They were speedily 
disillusioned. Nadir, who, as Mirza Mahdi remarks, “ had longed for 
such a day,” 7 donned a coat of mail and a helmet, and put himself at the 
head of 1,000 picked Afshar horsemen, in readiness to ride from place to 
place' and direct the operations. 8 When he heard of the advance of Sa'adat 
Khan and Khan Dauran, he placed 3,000 of his men in ambush, and sent 
out two bodies of jazayirchis , each 500 strong, with orders to draw the 
enemy into the trap.* 

Hanway states that Nadir, in order to frighten the elephants of the 

1 Bayan, fol. 17 (a). Artaud Ram (fol. 169(b)) says that Sa'adat Khan "with a headlong 
impetuosity misplaced in a co mm ander, flew to the scene of action accomp ani ed by only 
the few horsemen who were with him , without collecting his artillery or waiting to form his 
men in any kind of order." 

‘ Bayan, id. 17 (a). 

* im. t fd. 17 pi 

* Ibid., fol. 18 (a). According to Anand Ram (foh 169 (b) and 170 (a) ), TCfran Dauran, on 

receiving this order, said that the army had not expected to fight that day and that it would 
be better to wait till the morrow, when the artillery could be placed in the front. The 
Emperor was displeased at this answer, whereupon Khan Dauran, " who had the good 
ofiiis master at heart, mounted his elephant and set out. Ashub tells a different story ; 

he . ^ ol ' llf P* I 79) was very jealous of Sa'adat Khan. When he heard 
reports that his rival was successfully engaging the enemy, he thought that his own prestige 
** ” Khan won a striking victory ; he therefore decided to advance in 

* iCTfS 18 m ae enga§ement ^ secure as muct of the glory as possible for himself. 

* Ashub, VdL II, p. 181. 

’ P; 2Q1 - See afso Asiatick Researches, Vol. X, d. 

* Fraser (quoting Mirza Zaman’s Journal), p. 157. 


‘Ibid. 



THE BATTLE OF KARNAL 

OPENING PHASE 



NADIR SHAH 


138 


Indians, ordered stagings to be carried by pairs of camels ; on these 
stagings he had naphtha and other combustible materials placed, which 
were to be set on fire during the battle . 1 

It was one o’clock in the afternoon when the battle began. Sa'adat 
Khan and his scanty force, who formed the Indian right wing, became 
heavily engaged with the Persians at Kunjpura. The jazayirchis who 
were under the command of Fath ‘Ali Khan Kayani, had been posted 
behind the walls and buildings there, and poured in a destructive fire . 2 A 
little later on, Khan Dauran’s division, which now constituted the Indian 
centre, came into action with the Persian centre under Nasrullah. A 
wide gap separated Khan Dauran’s division from that of Sa‘adat Khan 
and a similar gap existed between the former and the Indian left wine 
For this reason, none of the Indian leaders had any knowledge of what the 
others were doing, and there was thus a complete lack of cohesion and 
co-ordination on their side . 2 Moreover, so hurriedly had the Indian 

commanders advanced to the attack that they had little or no artillenr 
with them. 7 


Saadat Khans men were the first to give ground, though they only 
did so after sustaining heavy casualties. He himself, surrounded by some 
of his followers, bravely continued the fight until his elephant was charged 
by that of his nephew, Shir Jang, which had been maddened by a wound . 4 
Sa adat Khan s elephant then got out of control, and bore him into the 
t ersian ranks, where he was made prisoner . 6 

1 j d i a ^-^ en I re ’ Under Khan Dauran > fought on bravely, but they, 

. Khat l s men > ™e mown down by the rapid and accurate 

‘ T C t V s r 1 33 41134 from the zwburaks. The swords- 
manship, of which the Indians were so proud, was of little avail against 
such methods of fighting , as ‘Abdu’l-Karim remarked : “An Srow 
cannot answer a jazajir.”* When the Emperor realised that Khan Dat^I 

tbis device to scare the 

Nadir -was well versed in Timur's historv he mav ^. n< ion, * 93 ^ p. 98) ; as* 

It is not without interest to compare £f ve u P on occasion, 

the Great terrified the elephantsin Fur’s (i e S p^w]^ 0n ° f / he w kich Alexander 

translated by A.G. and E Warner ( see The Sha}ina ™a of Firdausi, 

•Bay an, fol, 18 (b). 

^ and 31 f§)’. 182 l84 ’ Bayan > foL I 9 O 5 )* Ghulam 'Ali Naqavi's 'Imadu’s Sa'adcd, fol. 31 (a),. 

, | a ,Vol. See the Siyar ’ p - 473 ’ ^ IrakU ’s letter 

fol. l8 fbh A vhn’H hn+ -fo v. m’A.1 ; 


Nadir Var ( 2 e Ka^rte^tiS^the fe? y - N V abat “ ballad! 
Jars 659-682) ; see also Tilok bJat^Jpxjt - f tbe Pan J ab Historical Society, Vol. VI, 



THE INVASION OF INDIA: KARNAL 


139 

was in serious danger, he sent an urgent message to the Nizamu’l-Mulk 
asking why he had not gone to the aid of the Commander-in-Chief and 
requesting him to go without further delay. The Nizam, however, put 
personal enmity before patriotism, and sat calmly on his elephant drinking 
coffee instead of obeying his sovereign’s orders. 1 

The end came when Khan Dauran, who had already been wounded, 
received a mortal wound from a musket shot and fell unconscious in his 
howda 2 ; his brother and son and many other umara were among the 
slain. 8 Bereft of their leader, the few survivors of the Indian centre were 
speedily overcome, and at five o’clock the battle was over. Khan Dauran’s 
servant, at great personal risk, succeeded in bringing his master back 
to the Indian camp. 4 

Though so successful in the field, Nadir was too prudent to attempt 
an attack on the Emperor’s position 5 ; as will be seen later, he had other 
expedients in view for bringing about the subjection of Muhammad 
Shah and his army. 

The points that are chiefly remarkable in respect to this engagement 
are, in the first place, the marked contrast between Nadir’s generalship 
and that of the Indian leaders ; in tactics, as in strategy, Nadir was 
immeasurably superior ; moreover, the Indian commanders, as has been 
seen, were unable to forget their personal quarrels and jealousies and 
unite in defence of their country. Secondly, the numbers actually en- 
gaged on both sides formed but a small proportion of the whole. On 
the Indian side many of the divisions under Khan Dauran and Sa*adat 
Khan did not advance to the attack, while the whole of the left wing, 
owing to the Nizamu’l-Mulk’s refusal to fight, remained passive through- 
out the battle (all that they did was to advance a short distance from their 
lines and take up a position by the side of the ‘Ali Mardan canal). 

The casualties sustained by the Indians have been much exaggerated 
by some writers, such as Mirza Mahdi, who put their losses in killed 
alone as high as 30,000.* In all probability, the Indians may have lost 
some 10,000 men 7 ; they could not have lost many more, since the total 

‘Ashub, Vol. II, pp. 186-188. See also the Jaukar-i-Samsam, id. 34 (a). 

« Hid., Vol. II, p. 189. 

• For lists of the umara killed and wounded, see Ashub, Vol. II, pp. 190-192, Bay an, foL 19 (a)» 

and 19 (b), Siyar, p. 473, Fraser, p. 158, etc. 

‘Ashub, Vol. II, p. 192. 

‘ T.N. , p. 203. 

* Ibid., p. 202. Nadir himself also exaggerated the Indian losses ; in his letter to Rida Quli, 

he stated that the enemy lost upwards of 20,000 in killed, and a much greater number 
captured (Asiatick Researches, Vol. X, p. 544) ; as Nadir concluded his letter with the 
words “ Make copies of this our royal mandate and disperse them over our empire, that 
the well-wishers of our throne may be happy and rejoice ...” it is obvious that hie deliber- 
ately magnified his success in order to give heart to his supporters. The letter contains 
some other particulars of the battle which cannot (evidently for the above reason) be- 
reconciled with accounts by other writers. 

T De Voulton, op. cit., p. 230. 



NADIR SHAH 


140 

number engaged on the Indian side was not greatly in excess of that 
figure. According to a contemporary letter quoted by Fraser, 1 the losses 
on the Persian side were 2,500 killed and 5,000 wounded, but these 
figures seem on the high side. 

Nadir, it is said, prostrated himself after the battle in thanksgiving to 
Allah ; he then congratulated and rewarded his commanders ; if the 
information supplied through the medium of Muhammad Kazim can be 
credited, it was on this occasion that Nadir named his second son Nasrullah 
(“ Victory of Allah ”), in place of his previous name of Murtada Quli. 3 

In the evening, the Nizamu’l-Mulk, the Ttimadu’d Daula and the 
eunuchs of the Imperial harem went to see Khan Dauran. The wounded 
commander-in-chief, who had recovered his senses in the meanwhile, 
said to them, in tones that were almost inaudible through weakness : 

" We have completed our business. ... Do not let the Emperor meet Nadir 
Shah or take Nadir to Delhi, but remove this calamity (bala) from here by any 
means in your power .” 3 


That same evening, Sa'adat Khan was brought before Nadir. After 
answering tactfully some questions which Nadir put to him respecting 
the resources of the Emperor, Sa‘adat Khan recommended the Shah 
to summon the Nizamu’l-Mulk and to discuss the terms of peace with 
him. 4 Nadir followed this advice, with the result that the Nizamu’l-Mulk, 
having been invested by the Emperor with power to negotiate, went to 
the Persian camp, where he arrived after nightfall on the 25th February. 8 

After being received by the Shah, the Nizamu’l-Mulk discussed the 
terms of settlement with ‘Abdu’l Baqi Khan, and it was agreed that Nadir 
should inflict no further injury on India and return to Persia in considera- 
tion for an indemnity of 50 lakhs of rupees, 6 payable in instalments. 


Fraser, p. 158* Hanway repeats these figures. Shaikh Hazin (p. 299) goes to the other extreme 
5T ^ >ers ^ ans only 3 men killed and a score wounded (cf. bis statement 

that their casualties at the battle of Mihmandust only amounted to a couple of men, who 
were slightly wounded !). r 

K.N., p, 430. This story of Na^ruUah/s name may be true (as Nadir had given Shi 'aboun din g 
S? 5 oth ^ two sons, namely, Rida Quli and Imam Quli), but if it is, it is strange 

^ authority should have mentioned the episode or have ever referred to him 
t as Murtada Quli. 

» Siyar, p. 473. According to Otter (Vol. I, p. 381), tie Nizamu’l-Mulk insulted Khan Dauran 
ShirVi +21 moribund _ and helpless, and so revenged h ims elf for a number of rude remarks 
Fj® ^yE^der-m-Chief had made in regard to h i m at the Court (Khan Dauran 
* “x^b) 0therS *° ^ likened t* 1 ® Nizamu’l-Mulk to a monkey). 

xrT* y 35 Nizamu’l-Mulk on this occasion and has described the meeting 

mrii Nadir (see the translation of the relevant passage in the Tadhkira in Elliot and Dowson, 
4 VOi * Vlil, pp, 232-4). 

XbfiMoo^is givea as 1 by Ashub (p. 235) and as 2 crons by Ghulam 'Ali (Siyar, p. 473) 
at mhr tA 3^ but Sir J. Sarkar (Nadir Shah in India, p. 50) puts the amount 

St^tiSfbut ttoSs^nScd?^ (fo1- 20 ^ h the amount of the indemnit y was 



THE INVASION OF INDIA: KARNAL 


141 


Having requested the Nizamu’l-Mulk to invite the Emperor to lunch 
on the following day, Nadir gave the Indian statesman leave to 
return. 

Notwithstanding the death-bed advice of Khan Dauran, Mu&ammad 
Shah accepted Nadir’s invitation. Mirza Mahdi states that the Emperor, 
on the 17th Dhu’I-Qa'da (26th February), formally abdicated and that, 
after removing the crown from his head, he set out for the Persian camp. 1 
It is curious that, while this author mentions the Emperor’s abdication, 
he omits to say whether Muhammad Shah formally handed his crown 
over to Nadir on this or any subsequent occasion. It is obvious from what 
occurred later than the Emperor did, in fact, abdicate, and that Nadir 
assumed for a time the crown of India, but nothing appears to be on record 
as to any official ceremony of investiture having taken place. 

Muhammad Shah, on reaching the Persian lines, was received by 
Nasrullah Mirza whom Nadir had sent to meet him and conduct him 
to the tent of audience. When the Emperor drew near, Nadir himself 
emerged, and greeted his imperial guest in the customary manner, 8 
much stress being laid on the fact that they were both of Turkoman origin. 
Nadir then took Muhammad Shah by the hand, led him into the tent and 
seated him on the throne by his side. After some conversation together 
(which was conducted in Turki), 8 the Shah and Emperor were served 
with food. Nadir, in order to show his guest that the food had not been 
poisoned, exchanged dishes at the beginning of the meal. 4 The meeting 
between the two monarchs passed off without the slightest hitch or un- 
pleasantness ; “ nothing that courtesy and friendship required was 

omitted during the whole conference, which lasted a quarter of the day.” 5 
The Emperor was then escorted back to his own camp ; it is said that 
the successful outcome of the meetings between Nadir Shah, the Nizamu’l- 
Mulk and the Emperor restored the peace of mind of the Indian troops, 
who now had hopes of being allowed to return to their homes. 

Ever since the evening after the battle, however, Nadir had kept the 
Indian camp closely invested ; no one was suffered to leave, and no 


1 T.N., p. 203. M. de Bussy, in Ms Remarques sur VHistoire de Nader Cka, Roy de Perse (see 
the Orme MSS. in the India Office, Vol. XXIII, p. 32), says that Nadir had intended to 
seat himsrff on the throne of T ndia , but that the Nizamu’l-Mulk dissuaded him from doing 
so, on the grounds that he would not be able to hold so large a country in subjection (de 
Bussy ^aims to have obtained the above and other information relating to Nadir from 
Persians who remained in India after the Shah's departure). 

* Atianfl Ram, fol. 171 (a) says : “ When they (i.e., Muhammad Shah and Na sr u llah) drew 
near, the Shah came forward, and the usual etiquette between tiie Persian and 

Mughal Courts followed.” See also Nadir’s letter to Rida Quli Mirza, in AsiaHcJt Researches. 
Vol. X, p. 545. 

•The Nifamu’l-Mulk had previously informed the Emperor that he would have to converse 
with Nadir in Turki (Harcharan Das, fol. 87 (a)). 

4 Harcharan Das, fol. 87 (b). 

•Anand Ram, fol. 171 (b). 



NADIR SHAH 


142 

provisions were allowed to be brought in. 1 He knew that by this means 
he could ensure prompt compliance with his terms. 

Khan Dauran having died on the day after the battle, 2 the posts of 
Commander-in-Chief and Paymaster-in-Chief which he had held, became 
vacant. Under circumstances which it is unnecessary to describe here, 3 
the Nizamu’l-Mulk obtained the post of Mir Bakhshi (Paymaster-in- 
Chief), a position which Sa‘adat Khan, it is said, had been hoping to obtain 
himself. When Sa‘adat Khan found that the Nizamu’l-Mulk had fore- 
stalled him, he became beside himself with rage. 4 In this state, he rushed 
off to Nadir Shah and sought to undo the work of his successful rival 
by inducing the Shah not to rest content with such a small indemnity 
as that provided for in the treaty made with the Nizamu’l-Mulk. He 
pointed out that, if the Shah were to march to Delhi, he would be able to 
obtain an incalculable amount of gold, jewellery, and other valuables from 
the Emperor’s treasuries and from the houses of the nobles and merchants. 5 
Saadat Khan added : “ There is now no one of note at the Imperial 
Court except Asaf Jah, who is a trickster and a philosopher. If this 
trickster is snared, everything will happen as your Majesty desires.” 5 
Nadir showed pleasure at Sa‘adat Khan’s words and determined to follow 
his advice. 

After purposely waiting a few days, Nadir, on the 24th Dhu’l-Qa‘da 
(5th March), summoned the Nizamu’l-Mulk again, and ordered him to 
request the Emperor to revisit the camp. The Nizamu’l-Mulk protested 
that this procedure would not be in conformity with the treaty, but the 
Shah, after saying that his purpose was not to abrogate the treaty or to 
act to the detriment of the Emperor, insisted that a further interview was 
necessary. 7 

The blockade of the Indian camp not having been relaxed, the lack of 
food there had become so acute 8 that the Nizamu’l-Mulk had no option but 

1 T.N., p. 203 ; de Voulton, p. 230. 

* There is much disagreement between the authorities as to the date of Khan Dauran* s death. 

I have selected the 25th February, since that is the date given by Mirza Mahdi ( T.N . , 
p. 202), Ashub, Vol. II, p. 193, Anaad Ram, fob 170 (b), and Nadir himself (see Asiatick 
jtesearches, Vol. X, p. 543.) Mirza Zaman (Fraser, p. 161) and Siyar give, respectively, 
the 27th and 28th February. 0 r 

*Far these particulars, see Harcharan Das, fol. 88 (a), also Siyar, pp. 473-4 and Ashub, Vol. II, 
¥u ±'U > ~?}' * 1 ^ le ^ ’ 1 -Mulk also obtained the post of Amiru'l-Umara, and it is known 
that Sa adat Khan had had designs on that as well (see Siyar p. 474, and Dr. Srivastava, 
op. at., p. 69). r 

‘ % flr ' P- 474 ; Rustam 'Ali, fol. 286 (a). 

* Sty or, p. 474; Ashub, Vol. II, p. 278. 

* Harcharan Das, fol. 88 (b). 

P- 474 - 

Mirza Zaman (Fraser, p. 167) ; De Voulton (p. 231) states that 4,000 Indian troops were killed 
warn trying to obtain provisions and fodder outside their camp. He adds that the scarcity 
w food was such that “ the measure of wheat and rice which used to cost the tenth part 
ot a rupee was sold at ten rupees or 100 sous / 1 See also Ashub, Vol. II, pp. 266-270. 



THE INVASION OF INDIA: KARNAL 143 

to comply. He accordingly wrote to the Emperor in the sense demanded 
by Nadir Shah. On receiving this letter, Muhammad Shah, despite the 
remonstrances of some of his nobles, who advised a further appeal to 
arms, 1 proceeded to the Persian camp on the 26th Dhu’l-Qa‘da (7th 
March), accompanied by a retinue of 2,000 persons. 2 * 

Though Nadir outwardly treated the Emperor with respect and ordered , 
‘Abdu’l-Baqi Khan to attend to his wants, 8 Muhammad Shah was, in 
reality, a prisoner, 4 as were also the nobles in his entourage. After the 
Emperor’s arrival, Qizilbash troops were sent to his camp who seized 
all the artillery and arrested those of the leaders and nobles who were still 
there. 5 The Indian rank and file were then informed that they were at 
liberty to remain at Karnal or to proceed to Delhi or to their homes. 6 
Bereft of all their leaders, and weakened by famine, the Indian soldiers 
endeavoured as best they could to escape to their homes, but large numbers 
were killed en route by roving bodies of Qizilbash cavalry and by robber 
bands, as well as by the peasantry. 7 

On the 1st Dhu’I-Hijja (12th March) the Shah and the Emperor 
left Karnal for Delhi, Muhammad Shah keeping a cost (approximately 
two miles) behind Nadir. 8 

Previous to his departure, Nadir had dispatched in advance Sa‘adat 
Khan, whom he had appointed Wakilu' l-Mutlaq (“Deputy of the 
Absolute ”) of India, and Tahmasp Khan Jalayir, with an escort of 4,000 
cavalry. They bore with them a royal order (shiqqa) from the Emperor 
to the Governor Lutfullah Khan for the handing over to Tahmasp Khan 
of the keys of the city, and also an edict (raqam) from Nadir confirming 
Lutfullah Khan in his position. 2 

1 Anand Ram, fol. 173 (a). 

* Bayan, fol. 22 (a). 

*T.N., p. 203. 

4 Anand Ram, fol. 173 (a). 

*De Voulton, p. 236. Askub (Vol. II, p. 288) states that Nadir ordered the Indian cannon 
to be sent to Qandahar. See also Asiatick Researches, Vd. X, p. 546. 

* Siyar, p. 474. 

*Harin, p. 296, and de Vonlton, p. 231, Ashob, Vol II, pp. 280*281. 

* T.N., p. 203 : Fraser, p. 177. 

* Bayan, fol. 22 (a). Ashub, Vol. II, p. 289. Shakir Khan, fol. 43 (a). Fraser, p. 175. 



CHAPTER XIV 


The Invasion of India : Delhi 


When the news of the battle of Karnal reached Delhi, the capable Kotwal 
of the city, Hajji Fulad Khan, took effective measures to prevent any panic 
or outbreaks of lawlessness, and endeavoured to put the city into a state 
of defence. 1 

When Tahmasp Khan Jalayir and Sa'adat Khan reached the gates 
of Delhi, they found them closed against them. They thereupon sent 
to the Governor, Lutfullah Khan, the shiqqa or order from the Emperor 
and Nadir’s raqam> with the result that Lutfullah Khan opened the gates 
and delivered up to Tahmasp Khan the keys of the fortress and those of 
the treasuries and store-houses. 2 

Preparations were then begun for the reception of the Emperor and 
Nadir Shah. 

Meanwhile the two monarchs were on their way to the capital ; travel- 
ling via Panipat, Sonepat and Narela, they reached the Shalimar gardens, 
just outside Delhi, on the 7th Dhu’l-Hijja (1 8th March), On the follow- 
ing day, the Shah “ gave leave ” to the Emperor to enter the city, in order 
to enable him to prepare for his reception. 3 Nadir himself remained in 
the Shalimar gardens till the 9th Dhu’l-Hijja (20th March), when he made 
his entry into Delhi in great state. The streets were lined with troops, 4 
and the Shah’s procession was headed by 100 elephants on each of which 
several jazayirchis were mounted. Nadir himself was on horseback, 
and when he reached the fortress and dismounted, the cannon thundered 
forth a salute. 5 

, ^he Emperor received Nadir with great pomp and ceremony and gave 
him costly presents. Mirza Mahdi gives an exaggerated and distorted 
account of what occurred. The Emperor, according to him, “ spread 
the table of humility for the feast of hospitality.” 6 Nadir, in return, 
thanked the Emperor for his attentions and informed him that he was, 


fetter from Surat ■which was published in the London Daily 
J 01 2 3^d November, 1739, states that “ the traitor Saadul-Cawn (sic) was sent with 
24 +°Jr m 2 l *° w ^ere they shut the gates against him, but he, with his 
x that the Mogul . . . had beaten Nadir Shah and was in pursuit 

mm, gained admittance. In the Jauhar-i-Samsam {fol. 53 (b) ), N asrullah is said to 
teJS--* t0 DfSL™* 5 > 000 horsemen, ’under the ^dS of sKkt Khan who 

* Siyar ^ad become a friend of the enemy and increased his dignity." 

• t> -4. tt v * A shub, Vol. II, p. 295. 

liaidL, (ff. de h <?., Vol II, Part II, p. 360.) • T.N., p. 204. 

144 



THE INVASION OF INDIA: DELHI 


H5 

in virtue of the treaty concluded at Karnal, once more in possession of 
his kingdom . 1 In recognition of Nadir’s magnanimity, Muhammad 
Shah then offered his guest all the royal treasures and jewels. “ Although 
all the treasures of the (other) kings of the earth were not equal to a tenth 
part of a tenth part ” of these gifts, he refused for a long while to accept 
them, and only gave way after the Emperor had repeatedly urged him to 
do so . 2 Needless to say, this reluctance on Nadir’s part was merely 
feigned. 

After his reception and entertainment by the Emperor, Nadir took up 
his quarters in the palace built by Shah Jahan, near the Divan-i-Khass , 3 
while Muhammad Shah occupied a building close to the Asad Burj or 
Lion Tower . 4 As for the Qizilbash troops, some were quartered in and 
around the fortress and others were billeted in the city itself . 5 

On the morning of Saturday the loth Dhu’l-Hijja (21st March), 
which, besides being the Persian Nau Ruz, was also the Muhammadan 
festival of the ‘Idu’d-Duha (Feast of Sacrifice), the khutba , in accordance 
with instructions already given, was read in Nadir’s name and in the 
Sunni manner in all the mosques of the city ; moreover, in the Delhi 
mint coins were struck bearing the inscription : “ The Sultan over the 
Sultans of the Earth is Nadir the King of Kings, Lord of the fortunate 
conjunction .” 6 On that day Nadir held the usual Nau Ruz reception 
and gave robes of honour to his principal officers. 

That same day Sa‘adat Khan died ; some difference of opinion exists 
as to whether he died from his wounds or committed suicide. On the 
whole, it seems more probable that he died from the effects of poison 
which he is said to have taken in a fit of depression or chagrin, after Nadir 
had spoken roughly to him . 7 

1 T.N., p. 204. These were (if uttered) but empty words, for Nadir, as will be seen below, 

* did not reinstate Muhammad Shah until just before his departure from Delhi. 

'Ibid. •Ibid, 

* Tieffenthaler (on the authority of Diogo Mendes), p. 56. * Ibid. 

* Ashub, Vol. II, p. 296. The Persian wording is: 

“ Hast Sultan bar salatin-i- Jahan 
Shah-i-Shahan Nadir $ahib-qiran. ” 

The use of the term §ahib-qiran, one of Timur's epithets, is significant. See also Fraser 
(p. 120) who mentions a "coin with this wording on the obverse ; on the reverse was written 
in Arabic : 

" Khalada Allahu mulkahu guriba fi Abmadabad 1152.” 

(" May Allah cause his kingdom to endure ; struck at Ahmadabad, 1152 "). 

* Dr. Srivastava {op. cit., p. 75) believes in the theory of suicide, and quotes in support of this 

view an entry in the Delhi Chronicle of the 10th Dhu’l-Hijja that Sa'adat Khan had 
taken poison and died. Rustam ‘Ali (fol. 289 (a) ) says that the Nizamul-Mulk suggested 
to Sa'adat Khan, after Nadir had spoken roughly to him at the public Darbar or Court, 
that they should both take poison. Sa'adat Khan, " since he was a soldier and had no know- 
ledge of the guile of this old man, drank a cup of poison and died, whereas the Nizamul- 
Mulk quaffed a glass of shariat and slept peacefully until the next morning/’ On the 
other hand ‘Abdu'l-Karim {Bay an fol. 22 (b) stated that the Khan had suffered much horn 
his foot on the previous day, while it is said in the Siyar (p. 475) that he died of gangrene 
(literally, sarafan = cancer) in the foot. 

1 



NADIR SHAH 


146 

In the afternoon of the 10th Dhu’l-Hijja Nadir went to the Emperor’s 
quarters, to return his visit of the day before. Towards the close of the 
day, after the Shah had returned to his own palace, wild rumours became 
current in the city that he had met with an untimely end ; other reports 
were that he had been seized and imprisoned by order of the Emperor . 1 
No one took the trouble to see whether there was any foundation for these 
rumours , 2 * which spread with the rapidity of lightning through the crowded 
streets and bazaars. Mobs speedily collected and, carried away by 
excitement, began to attack those of the Qizilbash troops who were in 
the town. These rumours and disturbances, which were to have such 
appalling consequences, are said to have arisen in the following way 2 : 
at noon that day Tahmasp Khan Jalayir dispatched some mounted 
nasaqchis to the Paharganj granaries, which are situated to the south-west 
of the city, with orders to open them and to settle the price at which the 
corn was to be sold. The nasaqchis duly carried out their orders, but the 
price which they fixed, namely, ten sirs for one rupee, so exasperated the 
corn-dealers that they caused a mob to assemble. This mob then attacked 
and killed the nasaqchis together with some other Persian soldiers who 
had come to purchase corn. The instigators of the attack then spread 
a report that Nadir had been cast into prison, and others said that he 
had been poisoned. In their progress through the city, these reports 
became more and more distorted and fantastic, and “ foolish persons with 
arms and equipment having collected together, created a disturbance .” 4 * 
Many of the Qizilbash troops, walking singly or in pairs in the narrow 
streets, were taken entirely by surprise and fell an easy prey to their 
assailants. The Indian writer Muhammad Bakhsh “ Ashub ”) was 
having his evening meal in his house near the Kabul gate when he heard 
a noise like the tumult of the Last Day ” ; on mounting to the roof 
to see what was happening, he witnessed Qizilbash soldiers being set 
upon and cut down by bands of men belonging to Saadat Khan’s army, 
most of whom came from Kabul and Peshawar, who were seeking to avenge 
the slaughter of their fellow-countrymen at Karnal . 6 When the Persian 

1 It is said inthe Siyar (pp. 474 and 475) that some Indians asserted that Nadir had died, and 
others stated that he had been lolled by two of the Emperor's Qalmuq women guards. 
Accordmg to de Voulton {op. ait., p. 237) " four young Omhras (i.e., TJmara ) of ordinary 
rank {de nooreza ordinana), having become intoxicated at eight in the evening, spread 
the rumour that the Emperor had killed Nadir Shah with a blow.” See also Anamd Ram, 
174 (a). 

* Shaikh Razin, p. 298. 

•Mirza Zaman, in Fraser, pp. 180-181. It is also stated in the Bayan, fol. 24 (b), that the disturb- 
ance began in the Paharganj quarter. 

P - 474* ^^ccording to Ashub, the disturbance began when “ three or four gharis of the 
aay remained, i.e., between one hour and 12 minutes and one hour and 36 minutes before 

_ . , sa ? se ” , k&gton is equivalent to 24 minutes). 

Ashub* VoL II, pp. 299-303. 



THE INVASION OF INDIA: DELHI 


147 

soldiery heard the reports of Nadir’s death, their consternation was so 
extreme that their ability to resist was much lessened. 1 

While it has never been suggested that the Emperor* or any of his 
leading nobles was in any degree responsible for instigating or fomenting 
this attack, none of them took any steps to restrain the mob once the trouble 
had begun ; moreover, some Indian notables, on hearing the rumour 
that Nadir had been murdered, slaughtered the Persian guards whom he, 
at their express request, had sent to protect their households. 3 

The estimates of the numbers of the Persians who lost their lives on 
this occasion vary from merely a few hundred to as much as 7,ooo 4 ; 
it seems probable that some 3,000 actually perished. 5 

During the disturbance, some Indian nobles, of whom the most pro- 
minent were Sayyid Niyaz Khan, a son-in-law of Qamaru’d-Din Khan, 
and Shah Nawaz Khan, having collected together some 500 men, raided 
the royal elephant stables, killed the superintendent and removed the 
elephants. They then left the city and took possession of a fort situated 
just outside it. 6 

When the first report of the disturbance reached Nadir, he refused 
to believe it, and angrily exclaimed that some of his soldiers had falsely 
accused the inhabitants of stirring up trouble, so as to provide themselves 
with an excuse to pillage the city. 7 He then ordered one of his yasauls 
to go and ascertain the true state of affairs and then report to him. This 
man, on emerging from the fort, was killed almost immediately by the 
mob, and a second yasaul , whom Nadir sent after him, suffered the same 
fate. Realising then that the trouble was of a serious nature, Nadir 
dispatched a body of 1,000 jazayirchis to quell the rioters, but, owing 


1 Bayan, fol. 22 (b). 

1 Mirza Mahdi expressly exonerates Mohammad Shah (T.N., p. 205). It is also to be noted 
that no one has ever alleged that Nadir or his men deliberately provoked the disturbance 
in order to provide themselves with an excuse for sacking the city (in this connection, 
see the Bayan, fol. 22 (b) ). 

» Shaikh Hazin, p. 299 ; Fraser (quoting from Mirza Zaman’s Journal ), p. 182 ; Ashnb, VoL II, 


p. 333 * 

* The estimates given by the principal authorities are as follows 

Mirza Zaman (Fraser, p. 185) 

Surat representatives of EJ.Co. 

Siyar, p. 475 

Bayan, fol. 22 (b) 

Rustam 'Ali, fol. 287 (b) 

De Voulton, op. cit., p. 238) 

Pfcre Saignes ( Lettres Edifiantes, Vol. IV, p. 253) 
Shaikh fiazin, p. 299 


400 

500 

700 

3.000 

5.000 

5.000 to 6,ooo 

7.000 


The estimate of the Surat representatives of the East India Company is taken from the 
Bombay Government Consultations for the 3rd April, 1739. In the entry on that date it 
is also said that the trouble was due to " a party of the late Mughal's forces having raised 
a quarrel in Delhi on account of some religious debate." 

* I follow Sir J. Sarkar, who accepts ‘Abdu’l Karim’s figure of 3,000 as the most probable one. 


* T.N., p. 206. 

' Bayan, fol. 22 (b). 



NADIR SHAH 


148 

to the darkness and the smallness of their numbers, they failed to restore- 
order. 1 The Shah then ordered his men to remain under arms all night, 
to defend themselves if attacked, but to take no further action without 
sanction from him. 2 

At sunrise the next morning Nadir mounted his horse and, with a strong- 
escort, rode through the streets to the golden-domed Raushanu’d-Daula 
mosque, in the middle of the Chandni Chok quarter. 3 It is said that when 
he was approaching this mosque, someone fired a shot at him from 
a balcony or window. The bullet missed Nadir, but killed an officer 
beside him. 4 On reaching the mosque, Nadir mounted to the roof ; 
after having ascertained in what quarters of the city the attacks on his 
men had been perpetrated, he ordered his soldiers to leave no person 
alive wherever a Qizilbash had been killed. 5 At nine a.m. the Persian 
troops began their dreadful task. After the streets had been cleared of 
the rebels, the soldiers forced their way into the shops and houses in the 
doomed portions of the city, killing the occupants and laying violent- 
hands on anything of value. 6 The money-changers’ bazaars and the- 
shops of the jewellers and merchants were all looted, and large numbers 
of buildings were set on fire and destroyed, all the occupants perishing- 
in the flames. No distinction was made between innocent and guilty, 
male and female, or old and young. 7 

Nadir remained in the mosque, his drawn sword by his side, whilst 
the work of death and destruction went on. 8 When the massacre had. 
been in progress for some hours, the Emperor sent the Nizamu’l-Mulk 
and Qamaru’d-Din Khan to the Shah, to implore him to be merciful.*' 
After listening to their pleadings, Nadir commanded the Kotwal, Hajji 
Fulad Khan, to go through the streets with a body of Persian nasaqchis , 
and to convey to his soldiers the order to refrain from further action. 10. * 
The fact that this order was instantly obeyed is proof of the completeness 
of Nadir’s control over his men. ‘Abdu’l-Karim regarded their prompt 
obedience as “one of the most wonderful things in the world.” 11 The 
massacre ceased at 3 p.m., after having been in progress for six hours.. 


1 Bayan, fol. 23 (a)., Harcharan Das, fol. 90 (b). 

* T.N., p. 205. 

•Ibid. 

‘Mirza Zaman (Fraser, p. 183). 

*T.N., p. 205. See also Ashub, Vol. II, pp. 307-313, Hazin, p. 300, Siyar, p. 475. 

•Anand Earn, fol. 173(a). 

* Ashub, Vol. II, pp. 313-315. 

* Tieffenthaler, p. 56. 

* -S' 2 °®* .®®® a ^ s0 Voulton (p. 238), who says that the Nizamul-Mulk went alone • 
to Nadir, whom he found eating sweetmeats. According to Ashub, however, Qamani'd-- 
Dm Khan went alone to plead with Nadir. 

l * Anand Ram, fbL 174 (b). 

** Barym, foL 44 (b). 



THE INVASION OF INDIA: DELHI 


149 


Nadir then commanded his troops to restore to their families the prisoners 
whom they had taken. 1 

How many persons, the vast majority of whom were guiltless of any 
crime against the Persians, lost their lives on this terrible occasion will 
never be accurately known ; the estimated totals range from 8,000 to 
the fantastic figure of 400,000.® Sir J. Sarkar considers that, having 
regard to the relatively small area affected and the short duration of the 
havoc, the number of those put to the sword was probably not in excess 
of 20,000.® To this figure must be added the several hundred persons 
(mostly women) who committed suicide. 

Nadir’s next step was to send a force under ‘Azimullah Khan and Fulad 
Khan to apprehend the two Indian nobles named Sayyid Niyaz Khan and 
Shah Nawaz Khan, and their followers, who, as stated above, had taken 
up their position in a fort outside the city after raiding the elephant stables 
on the previous night. This fort was duly attacked, and the two Indian 
leaders and their followers were captured ; later in the day they were 
put to death. 4 

According to Mirza Zaman, 6 Nadir also took vigorous punitive measures 
against the people of the Sarai of Ruhullah Khan and the Tatar Mughals 
of Mughal Pura because they had killed some Persian troops whom he 
had previously sent to the Sarai to seize the cannon there. 

Having re-established order in the city and surroundings, Nadu- 
confirmed Hajji Fulad Khan in his position as Kotwal. 6 

For some days after this massacre, the streets remained littered with 


1 T.N., p. 206 ; Mirza Zaman (Fraser, p. 187) states that these prisoners ■were not released 
until the next day (12th Dhu’l-Hijja = 23rd March}. 

* As in the case of the killing of the Persian troops, there is much divergence between the 

authorities regarding the total number of victims: 

‘AbduT-Karim (according to the MS. belonging to Sir J. Sarkar) 8,000 

Ashub, Vol. II, p. 351 nearly 16,000 

'AbduT-Karim (according to B. M. MS. fol. 23 (b) ) . . 20,000 

Mirza Mahdi, T.N., p. 206 30,000 

Rustam 'Ali, fol. 288 (a) . . nearly one lakh 

Harcharan Das, fol. 91 (a) \ 

Tieffenthaler, p. 56 / 100,000 

Hanway, V6L IV, p. 177. (Hanway says that another 10,000 

committed suicide) 110,000 

Mirza Zaman (Fraser, p. 185) 120,000 to 150,000 

Surat letter (in Daily Post of 23rd November, 1739) . . 200,000 

Otter, Vol. I, p. 393 . . 225,000 

Maratha letters 50,000 to 400,000 

* Nadir Shah in India, p. 66. The limits of the area destroyed on tins occasion are rival by 

‘AbduT-Kaiim ( Bayan , fol. 24 (b) ) and by Anand Rain (fol. 174 (a) ). Two Christian 
churches and the house of a devout Christian lady were destroyed (P&e Saignes, Lettres 
Edifianies, Vol. TV, p. 260) ; two Portuguese Jesuits named Matthias Rodriguez and 
Francisco da Cruz escaped injury by taking refuge in a house in a remote part of the dty. 
(Tieffenthaler, p. 57, Saignes, p. 260). 

4 T.N., p. 206. According to Ashub (Vol. II, p. 333), Niyaz Khan was also guilty of the minder 
of Qizilbash guards who had been placed in his house in order to protect it. 

•Fraser, p. 187. 

'Ibid. 



NADIR SHAH 


ip 


corpses ; at length, in the interests of public health, Nadir ordered the 
Kotwal to collect and burn the bodies. Timber from the wrecked houses 
provided fuel for the funeral pyres, on which the bodies of Muhammadans 
and Hindus were piled and burnt without distinction of creed or caste. 1 
Many thousands of corpses were collected and thrown into the Jumna. 

Having taken his toll of human lives, Nadir now began to exact his 
tribute of money and jewels. The possessions of Khan Dauran and 
Muzaffar Khan were seized, and a strong body of Qizilbash was dispatched 
to Oudh to confiscate and bring to Delhi the effects of Sa‘adat Khan. 2 
Later, Nadir appointed a commission, under Tahmasp Khan Jalayir, 
to assess the contributions of the nobles and of the merchants and citizens. 

All this while a cordon of Persian troops surrounded the city, and 
forcibly prevented anyone from leaving, though they allowed persons 
to enter. 3 Further, the granaries were kept under seal and were guarded 
by Persian troops ; these measures were evidently intended to expedite 
the collection of the tribute. 

The terrible happenings at Delhi had a tremendous effect throughout 
India. As Anand Ram has said, 4 Delhi had not experienced such a catas- 
trophe since it had been sacked by Timur’s troops (in December, 1398 ; 
after a rising by the inhabitants, his army had pillaged the city and 
massacred many thousands of the inhabitants). In 1739 history grimly 
repeated itself. Ashub has remarked that it is in the nature of the 
Turanians to shed blood, and that Nadir, with all his slaughtering, was 
the pupil (shagird) of Chingiz Khan and Timur. 6 Even to-day, as Sir 
Percy Sykes has pointed out, Nadir’s massacre is still remembered ; in 
the Delhi bazaar a Nadir Shahi signifies a massacre. 6 Trade in the city, 
as the Surat factors reported to Bombay, was at a standstill. 7 

The Peshwa Baji Rao, who had failed to respond to the Emperor’s 
appeal for aid when the Persians were still far away, became greatly alarmed 
on hearing of the result of the battle of Karnal and of the occupation and 
sack of Delhi. Making a truce with his foes in Central India, the Peshwa 
remarked : “ There is now but one enemy in Hindustan.” It seemed 
for a time as though Nadir’s presence in India might result in the Portu- 
guese obtaining a much needed respite from attack in the Konkan, where 
'they were being hard pressed by a Marathi force under Chimnaji Appa. 
The Peshwa sent orders to Chimnaji Appa to desist from his campaign 
against the Portuguese and to join him as speedily as possible, in order 
to resist the Persians (who were then rumoured to be advancing south- 
wards from Delhi). Chimnaji Appa, however, refused to obey Baji 


•fctirza S® 2 ” 1 ’ P* 3°°\ 


— -4. ~ *Mirza Zaman (Fraser, p. 188), and T.N., p. 207. 

aman (Fraser, p. 188). *Tadhhira, fol. 174(b). 

*yci. n» pp. 356 and 357. • History of Persia, Yol. II, p. 262. 

* Bombay Government Consultations, 3rd April, 1739. 



THE INVASION OF INDIA: DELHI 


Rao’s instructions until after he had taken all the Portuguese strongholds ; 
by that time Nadir had left Delhi on his homeward march. 1 

On the 1 6th Dhu’l-Hijja (27th March) Nadir dispatched a Jarman 
by chapar to Persia exempting all the provinces of that country from 
taxation for three years. At the same time, he richly rewarded his officers, 
and gave his soldiers their arrears of pay, together with a gratuity ; he 
also gave presents to the camp-followers and servants ranging from 60 
to 100 rupees in amount, according to their status. 2 

While the people of Delhi were still mourning their dead, Nadir de- 
manded for his son Nasrullah the hand of an Indian princess, a daughter 
of Yazdan Bakhsh and great-granddaughter of the Emperor Aurangzib. 
Sir John Malcolm, quoting from a Persian MS., has related that, in accord- 
ance with Mughal etiquette, Nasrullah was required to give an account 
of his male ancestors for seven generations. Nadir thereupon exclaimed : 
“ Tell them that he is the son of Nadir Shah, the son of the sword, the 
grandson of the sword ; and so on, till they have a descent of seventy 
instead of seven generations.” 8 The marriage took place on the 27th 
Dhu’l-Hijja (6th April). In honour of the occasion, Nadir ordered illum- 
inations, displays of fireworks and lavish entertainments. 4 On the night 
of the wedding fifteen or twenty Qizilbash troops danced and sang in 
Turki, and recited part of the marthiya (threnody) of Husain. Nadir, 
on learning of this, was greatly angered, saying, “ For several years I have 
given orders forbidding passion-plays (ta’zias) and threnodies . . . 
these soldiers have disregarded the Qur’an and the Traditions and have 
not observed the festival of my son’s wedding. There is no remedy for 
this save death.” On the following day these unfortunate men were seized 
and were then executed outside one of the gates of the city ; their bodies 
were left there for a month, as a warning 5 (as Muharram was about to 
begin, Nadir was anxious to prevent any Shi‘a manifestations by his men). 

The work of assessing, and then of collecting, the levy on the citizens 
occupied some time. Emissaries of the Kotwal, together with Persian 
nasaqchts , went from house to house enforcing the appearance of the owners 
and making inventories of all that they possessed, in order to calculate 
their individual contributions in accordance with their means* ; in the 

1 J. C. Grant Duff’s A History of the Marathas (revised edition, London, 1921), Vol. I,pp. 403-405. 
1 T.N., p. 207. The date, which is omitted by Mirza Mahdi, is given by Mirza Z airian ; the 
latter states that Nadir gave his troops all their arrears of pay and a gratuity equivalent 
to six: months’ pay. 

* History of Persia, Vol. II, pp. 46 and 47 (Sir John Malcolm does not give the name of the author 

or the title of this MS.}. b 

1 TJN., p. 206. Ashub worked for 4 days organising the illuminations and fireworks, and lighted 
the rockets himself. Nadir was much pleased with his work and gave him 20 rupees as 
a reward (VoL II, pp. 377-380 and 387}. 

•Ashub, Vol. II, pp. 382-386; see also Mirza Zaman’s Journal (Fraser, p. 199)* 

♦ Anand Ram, foL 175 (b). 



NADIR SHAH 


152 

case of some rich men, the assessment was as high as 50 per cent. 1 2 Nadir 
is said to have given orders that the townspeople should be preserved 
from violence and treated with lenity during the carrying out of this 
work. 

When all the returns were complete, Delhi was assessed at two crores , 
and the Nizamu’l-Mulk, Sarbuland Khan and three other nobles were 
ordered by Nadir to collect the money. For this purpose Delhi was 
divided into five sections, and each of these nobles was made responsible 
for the collection of the money in one of these sections. 8 While Sarbuland 
Khan carried out his disagreeable task as humanely as he could,® 
some of the other nobles acted very harshly, with the result that many 
families were entirely ruined and numbers of persons, being driven to 
desperation, committed suicide. In some instances torture was employed 
to enforce payment. 1 

The aggregate value of all the money, jewels and other objects of value 
which Nadir obtained from the Emperor, his nobles and people must 
have been at least 70 crons (700,000,000) of rupees 3 * * ; as Anand Ram 
remarked, 6 “the accumulated wealth of 34 8 years changed owners in 
a moment.” Next to the peacock throne, the most famous and valuable 
of Nadir’s spoils was the great Koh-i-Nor diamond. 7 

On the 3rd Safar, 1152 (12th May), Nadir held a great darbar or 
court, to which he invited the Emperor and his principal nobles, and, 
with his own hands, placed the crown of Hindustan on the head of 
Muhammad Shah, and handed him a belt and a sword set with jewels ; 
he then gave splendid coats of honour to the nobles. 8 

1 Bayan, fol. 25 (b). 

* .Mirza 2 am an (Fraser, p. 201). Ashub (Vol. II, p. 368) states that Delhi was assessed at 

2 crores and 12 lakhs. 

* Fraser, p. 217. 

* Anand Ram fol. 176 (b) and 177 (b) ; Anand Ram himself had to pay 5 lakhs. Ashub (Vol. II, 

pp. 369 et seq.) gives particulars of the tortures employed. 

* Mirza Mahdi [T.N., p. 207) values the gifts, including the peacock throne, which Nadir received 

from the Emperor and nobles at 13 crores, together with jewels “ beyond enumeration." 
Anand Ram (fol. 175 (a) ) says that these jewels were worth 50 crores. Muhammad Ka?im 
(K.N., p. 445) puts the total value in cost and in kind at 26 crores ; speaking of the jewels, 
etc., he said : “ the mind is incapable of imagining them." Mirza Zaman (Fraser, pp. 
220-221) and Otter (Vol. II, p. 90) both estimate the total value of the spoils at 70 crores ; 
Otter adds that the booty taken by the officers and soldiers was worth 10 crores. ‘Abdu’l- 
Karim ( Bayan , foL 26 (a) ) gives the figure of 80 crores, while de Voulton’s list of the items 
amounts to the undoubtedly exaggerated total of 111 crores (pp. 242-243). 

* Tadhkira, fol. 173 (a). It was actually 351 lunar years from the time when Timur sacked 

Delhi in December, 1398. 

’ Tk® family of Rama Vikramaditya had presented this diamond to Babur’s eldest son Humayun 
in 1526, in token of gratitude for his protection. On Nadir’s death in 1747, the stone 
passed into the hands of Ahmad Shah Durrani in the possession of whose family it remained 
until his grandson Shah Shuja' gave, or was forced to give, it to Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler 
of Lahore. When the British annexed the Panjab in 1849, the East Tndia Co. obtained 

* T 2 ^°^pf^io 8 diamond, which it presented to Queen Victoria in the following year. 



THE INVASION OF INDIA : DELHI 


153 

According to Mirza Mahdi, 1 Muhammad Shah, in gratitude for his 
reinstatement as Emperor, then pressed Nadir to accept all the territories 
of the Empire situated to the west of the Indus “ from the frontier of 
Tibet and Kashmir to the place where that river flows into the ocean, 
together with the provinces of Thatta and the ports and fortresses belonging 
to them.” Mirza Mahdi goes on to say : 

“ since the greater part of the countries to the north and west of the river Indus 
. . . had always been regarded as being within the territory of Khurasan, His 
Majesty agreed to their being added . . . and an instrument 2 was drawn up by 
Muhammad Shah and was delivered to that exalted Government (i.e.. Nadir), and 
is preserved in the imperial treasury.” 

Nadir thereupon, it is said, gave Muhammad Shah some advice on the 
art of government, and exhorted the Indian nobles to obey their master 3 ; 
he concluded by saying that, if the Emperor were ever in need of his 
assistance, he would send a force and that he himself could reach him in 
40 days from Qandahar. According to Mirza Zaman, 4 Nadir advised 
Muhammad Shah to keep a standing army of 60,000 cavalry, to confiscate 
the jagirs (fiefs or domains) of the nobles, and to forbid them to maintain 
forces of their own. 

The Emperor’s name was now substituted for that of Nadir in the 
khutba , as well as on the coinage. Muhammad Shah was thus once 
more a sovereign, but his kingdom had shrunk, and his commander-in- 
chief and many thousands of his soldiers and subjects had been slain. 
Further, his jewels were gone, his treasuries were empty, and his prestige, 
which his own indolence and pusillanimity had done so much to injure, 
had been still further impaired. 

Having accomplished all that he had set out to do, Nadir decided to 
depart from Delhi ; in fact, the advent of summer rendered imperative 
an early start on the homeward march, and he had, moreover, other 
aims in view. 

1 T.N., p. 208. It is in such euphemistic terms that Mirza Mahdi refers to what was obviously a 
forced cession of territory. 

4 This is evidently the deed or treaty of cession which is quoted by Ashub (Vol. II, pp. 413-416), 
and which, as he remarks, Nadir compelled the Emperor to write (cf. Sir J. Malcolm's 
statement in his History of Persia, Vol. II, p. 79 that this document was “ no doubt dictated 
by the conqueror.” There is some doubt as to the actual date of this treaty; Ashub, 
Vol. II, pp. 405-412) gives the 29th Safar 1x52, which is evidently too late ; in the trans- 
lations given by Fraser (pp. 223-226) and others, the date 4th Muharram is given, which 
seems to be too early, unless, of course, the instrument was drawn up and signed long before 
the investiture ceremony took place (Nadir may well have deferred this ceremony until 
the collection of the indemnity had been completed). 

* T.N., p. 208. Mirza Zaman (Fraser, p. 208), Otter, Vol. II, p. 90- J- C. Grant Duff, op. dt., 

Vol. I, p. 405, states that Nadir wrote to Baji Bao that he had reinstated Muframmad Shah, 
and that although he (Baji Bao) was an ancient servant possessing a large army, he had 
done nothing to assist the Emperor. Now, all must obey the Emperor ; if they did not 
he himself would come with Ms army and punish them. 

* Fraser, pp. 206-207. 



*54 NADIR SHAH 

hJf 0 ^ l T' mg Ddhi ’ Nadir di spatched a number of Indian b mat 
builders and carpenters to the river Oxus via Kabul aurl ttoihu • 

to build boats for the transport of his^Cm ^ Ctkil ” der 
In addition, he engaged numbers of othe/carpenters as wen^TS” 8 ”' 
cutters, masons, goldsmiths and other craftsmen 1 his 'intention K ■ onc ~ 
erect in Persia a city on the model of DduT Some Tndkn° 
rank and attainments were also enrolled in the Shah” so5m • l, hlgher 

Xm%1dfr tp g :? to A “m’of he a ", CMrf ’ P %S,' 

Cl4 May) ail reTdv and A? °" ^ the ? th 

tS $ o’ne r of e th?Sgrf e sp S (! 2,m re fnSe ll i *°t th>e Kabu > '^te.^Ashub 

=ai“ “ 

-he cap. Ashub states that ’isj, rT ^ I ^ ] imir shawl was wound round 
tnd held himself very erecfo hk hL H 'd 5 ' 0un «> was str °ngb built 
He rode through IKeets’ hoHtn V *1* were dyed black, 

aefore him When the rw, 1 i^ g . le:id high and looking straight 
ooth haS.- ' he pe ° ple acdalm ' d him > fa»g rupees to lent w!th 

Z long 31 SZ'march'ttn b^nTn Unti ‘ *' *“<”** ^ 

T-N., p, 208 

Hanway, Vol. IV p IQ7 q 1 

fjr^)' nearH Wi° Nadir “ ^ 

^ U ' l3 4T Sve? 5 o a o“ a Hinwly r ’is P probibl UtS ' nUmber of elephants at 1,000, while 
Ashub, VoT 1 “ ^Ja%l SiVen by R ^tam y 'Sli, foT 29^) )?** Were not more 



CHAPTER XV 


The Invasion of India : Delhi to Nadira bad 

From the Shalimar gardens Nadir proceeded as far as Sirhind by the 
route which he had followed on his outward march. The long and richly- 
laden baggage train proved an irresistible bait to the more daring of the 
peasants, who on several occasions attacked and looted the rear end of the 
train ; it is said that Nadir lost 1,000 baggage animals and their loads 
in this way before he reached Thanesar. 1 Enraged by these exploits 
of the peasants, he ordered massacres wherever they had occurred, and 
thus added to the devastation and havoc wrought by his men on the way 
to Delhi. 

The heat on the plains was already so considerable that the soldiers 
and camp-followers suffered greatly. In order to reach the foothills 
more rapidly and so escape to some extent from the heat, Nadir turned 
to the north at Sirhind, and marched via Sialkot to Akhnur on the Chenab 
river.* An additional reason for this change of route was that the country- 
side between Sirhind and Lahore had been so ravaged on the outward 
march that sufficient provisions for the troops and fodder for the animals 
would not have been available. 8 

Just after his departure from Delhi, Nadir had dispatched Hayatullah 
Khan, the eldest son of Zakariya Khan, to Lahore, in company with 
‘ Abdu’l-Baqi Khan, with orders to collect a erne of rupees from that 
city. As soon as Zakariya Khan was informed of this order, he raised 
more than the sum demanded, and took it in person to Nadir, whom he 
met somewhere to the N.E. of Lahore. Zahariya Khan then accompanied 
Nadir as far as the Chenab. 4 

Akhnur was reached on the 27th Safar (5th June) ; here the troops 
were able to refresh themselves by bathing in the cold waters of the 
Chenab ; their sufferings from the great heat had been much aggravated 
by their heavy clothing, and many deaths had occurred every day. 8 
Copious rains in the mountainous country to the north had caused the 

1 Hanway, VoL IV, p. 199. 

1 T.N., p. 208, Bay an, foL 27 (b), Anand Ram, fol. 179 (a). 

* Bay an, fol 27 (a) and 27 (b). 

4 Anand Ram, fol. 178 (b). 

* Bayan, fol. 27 (b), T.N., p. 208. Irakli II also speaks of the terrible heat and of the numbers 

of men who succumbed to it. [H. de la G., vol. II, Part II, p. 362). 

155 



NADIR SHAH 


156 

river to rise considerably, and the current was very strong. The troops 
began to cross by the bridge of boats at Akhnur, but this bridge proved 
unequal to the strain imposed upon it by the great strength of the current 
and by the unusually heavy load. When only a portion of the army 
had reached the further bank, the bridge broke asunder, and 2,000 men 
were drowned in the swirling waters. 1 According to ‘Abdu’l-Karim, 
the bridge was broken in the following way : When the inhabitants 
of the Akhnur district received warning of Nadir’s approach, they retired 
to the hills where they cut down large numbers of trees. They then cast 
the tree-tunks into the Chenab which bore them swiftly down to Akhnur 
and dashed them with such force against the bridge there that the chains 
connecting the boats snapped in two. 2 As it was impossible either to 
repair this bridge or to build another one near-by, Nadir gave orders for 
the remainder of the troops and the baggage and artillery to be ferried 
across at Kullowal, thirty miles downstream from Akhnur ; this passage 
by ferry proved a lengthy process, and it was not until the 7th Rabi‘ II 
(14th July) that it was completed.® 

Knowing that his men had amassed much plunder at Delhi, Nadir, 
before the crossing was begun, issued an order that every man was to 
surrender all except a limited part of his loot. Many obeyed and were 
rewarded, but, as Nadir knew that many others had disregarded his 
order, he posted some trustworthy men at the crossing-place who searched 
each man as he passed. Some men buried their valuables, in the hope 
that they would be able to return later and recover them, but in this they 
were disappointed ; others are said to have been so enraged that they 
threw their jewels and money into the river. 4 

, Before leaving the further (western) bank of the Chenab, Nadir set free 
his Indian prisoners and ordered Zakariya Khan to assist them to return 
to their homes ; he then gave the Khan leave to go back to Lahore. 8 

It was, apparently, at this time that Nadir sent orders to Muhammad 
Taqi Khan, the Beglarbegi of Fars, to bring reinforcements by sea to 
Sind. These orders reached Muhammad Taqi Khan at the end of 


* Anand Ram, fol. 179 (a). 

* Bayern, fol. 27 (b). 

* T.N., p. 208. 

* Bay an, fol. 28(a). K.N., ^ p. 466. In February, 1740, some merchants arrived at Gombroon 

teom Nadirs camp, -which, they said, was “ excessively rich in Money and Jewels. But 
the latter he (Nadir) engrosses to hims elf, having forbid the soldiers re tainin g Diamonds 
or other Stones. . . . On their coming to any Pass, he had their Baggage brought before 
nun and examined to prevent their concealing such . . ( Gombroon Diary, 22nd February, 
* 7 ' tSK. k* 8 Ht&fy of Persia (Vol. II, p. 86), Sir J. Malcolm, after mentioning this order 
f Zrf. tr S ' keard many Persian noblemen, when speaking on this subject, 

“m 1 of more , to P olic y avarice. He feared, they affirmed, ids 

soldiers would be spoiled by wealth.” 

* Bay cat, foL 28(b), Tjf., p. 209. 



INVASION OF INDIA: DELHI TO NADIRABAD 157 

October or early in November 1 ; the manner in which he carried them 
out, or rather in which he attempted to do so, will be described in 
Chapter XVIII. 

In heavy rain the army advanced from the Chenab to the Jhelum ; 
having crossed the latter river by a bridge, 2 the army continued its march 
via Rawal Pindi to Hasan Abdal. 3 Whilst at Hasan Abdal, Nadir 
dispatched impressive embassies to Constantinople and St. Petersburg 
in order to announce his conquest of India. Each of the Ambassadors, 
who started on their lengthy journeys on the 20th Rajab (23rd October), 
took gifts of great value, as well as a number of elephants, to present to- 
the ruler to whom he was accredited. 4 

At the end of Rajab (4th November, 1739) Nadir received word from 
Khurasan that Ilbars and his Ozbeg horde were at last on the march towards 
that province (Mirza Mahdi is incorrect in stating that the districts of 
Abivard and Nasa were invaded). 5 This news made Nadir more deter- 
mined than ever to invade Turkistan. 

On leaving Hasan Abdal, Nadir bore westwards towards the Indus. 6, 
He was now in the country of the warlike Yusufzais, who offered much 
resistance. After some heavy fighting had taken place, Nadir came to- 
terms with these resolute tribesmen, and enlisted a large number of them 
in his army ; had he not reached this understanding with them, much 
delay would have resulted, and he would have been unable to reach the- 
high country round Kabul before the advent of the winter snow rendered 
the roads impassable. 7 

After crossing the Indus, Nadir went to Peshawar and thence through the- 
Khaibar Pass and Jalalabad to Kabul, where he arrived on the 1st Ramadan 
(2nd December). 8 All the Afghan leaders and notables of the province 
came to pay homage to him at Kabul. No less than 40,000 Afghans 
of Peshawar, Kabul, the Hazarajat and other districts enrolled themselves 
in his army and were sent to Herat where they were to await his arrival. 9 * 
Some time previously, Nadir had summoned Miyan Nur Muhammad 
Khudayar Khan, the powerful Governor of Sind, to meet him at Kabul 
and to do homage to him there, but the Kalhora chief disregarded this 

1 It appears from the T.N. (p. 21 1) that Nadir only issued these orders when at Kabul in December,. 
1739, but this is impossible; it is clear from the Gombroon records that they reached 
the Beglarbegi late in October or early in November, so they must have been dispatched- 
several months before (See Gombroon Diary, 5th November, 1739). 

* See Irakli’s letter, H. de la G., Vol. II, Part II, p. 363. 

* T.N., p. 209, Sayan, fol. 29 (b). 

* Ibid . Further details of these embassies will be given subsequently. 
l T.N., p. 210. For what actually occurred, see Chapter XVI. 

* The route which Nadir followed is probably the same as that briefly described by Muhammad. 

Ja'far Shamlu in his Manazilu’l-Futuh, fol. 7 (a) and 7 (b). 

T T.N., p. 2io, Bayan, fol. 29 (a) and 29 (b). 



NADIR SHAH 


158 

order. 1 Being at such a distance and feeling that Nadir would not marcl 
his tired troops so far to the south, Khudayar Khan had no misgivings 
It is characteristic of Nadir that he refused to brook this flouting of his 
authority. Though it was nearly mid-winter and the cold was intense^ 
he started southwards from Kabul on the 8 th Ramadan (9 th December) in 
order to punish Khudayar Khan. 2 The elephants did not accompany 
the army on this southward march, because it would have been imprac- 
ticable to take them. They were, instead, sent to Persia via Ghazna, 
Qandahar and Herat. 

Details are lacking in regard to the route followed by Nadir between 
Kabul and the Kurram valley. He doubtless marched south for fifteen 
miles to Zahidabad ; here he may have, branched off to the south-east 
and crossed into the upper Kurram valley via ‘Ali Khel and Ahmad Khel. 
Alternatively, he may have marched on southwards from Zahidabad to 
Khak Hazara, three stages from Kabul ; from Khak Hazara the route 
runs almost due east to Hazar Darakht, near the headwaters of the Kurram. 
Of the two routes, the latter is the more practicable in winter, and is 
therefore the one which he probably took. There is a tradition to the 
effect that he marched still further south before turning east, and entered 
the Bannu country via the Daur valley. 3 It is said that Nadir so thoroughly 
subdued the Daur tribe that they paid an annual tribute of Rs. 12,000 
to the Kabul authorities until the time of Zaman Shah Durrani. 4 Refer- 
ences in other authorities to the traversing of the Bangashat 6 and the length 
of time spent by the Persian army in the Kurram valley seem to prove, 
however, that it went that way and not by the Daur valley, but it is never- 
theless possible that Nadir may have sent some of his troops by the latter 
route. 

The march in these parts was trying in the extreme, and many of those 
vho had survived the stifling summer heat of the plains now succumbed 
:o the cold of the high country in mid-winter. The army and the long 

Bayan, fol. 31 (b). According to Leech’s Brief History of Kalai ( J.R.A.S . , Vol. XII, p. 484), 
Muhabbat Kh a n , the eldest son of ‘Abdullah Khan Brahoi, mindful of a promise which 
Nadir had made during the siege of Qandahar to assist him against Khudayar Khan, 
the slayer of his father, reminded Nadir of this promise when the army reached the Indus. 
For the feud between Khudayar Khan and ‘Abdullah Khan, see p. 52 above. 

Accordmg to Otter (Vol. II, pp. 97 and 98), Nadir, after leaving Kabul for Qandahar, dispatched 
Abdu 1 -Baqi Khan, with 5,000 men, to receive the submission of Khudayar Khan. On 
receiving word from ‘Abdu’l-Baqi Khan of Khudayar Khan’s refusal to submit and of his 
preparations for resistance, Nadir, who was then <c very close to Qandahar,” ” retraced 
his steps in order to bring Khudayar Khan to reason.” This statement (which is copied 
by Hanway, Vol. IV, p. 202) is clearly devoid of foundation, 

H ay ai-i- Afghani , p. 628, and S. S, Thorbum, Bannu ; or Our Afghan Frontier , London, 1876, 
P* 24. Sn E. D. Madagan has very kindly informed me of a local tradition that the fountain 
between the Tochi and the Baran passes at the mouth of the Daur valley, was 
polluted by the numbers of Nadir’s solders and camels that fell into it. 
tfayat-t^Afgham, p. 418. 

See the Bayern, fol. 31 (b) and 32 (a), T.N., p, 211. 



INVASION OF INDIA: DELHI TO NADIRABAD 159 

baggage train had to cross the swift Kurram river no less than twenty-two 
times ; so many baggage animals were carried away and drowned during 
these crossings that one-quarter of the spoils of India was lost. 1 

At last, on the 1st Shawwal (1st January, 1740) the army emerged 
from the grim and forbidding defiles of the Kurram, called by the men 
the “ valley of the demon ” ; on entering the lower country, they were 
delighted to see green fields and to breathe the warmer air. 2 

Although the soldiers rejoiced when they left the Kurram valley behind, 
their troubles were by no means at an end. The local zamindars retired 
to their strongholds and offered resistance, 3 and certain of the Bannuchi 
tribesmen attacked the Persian columns. 4 It is said, however, that some 
of the Bannuchis were terrified at the sight of the Persians, who were all 
clad in red and had tents of the same colour. Nadir dealt ruthlessly with 
the tribesmen who attacked him ; the Garri clan is stated to have been 
1,000 strong when he came, but only two remained after he had gone. 5 

Large numbers of baggage animals had, as stated above, been drowned 
in the Kurram ; many more died through lack of fodder, and transport 
consequently became very scarce. Further to the south, it was found that 
the tribespeople had, at the orders of Khudayar Khan, taken away and 
hidden as much of the grain as they could carry and had burnt the rest ; 
parties of troops had, therefore, to be sent far afield to obtain sufficient 
supplies. 6 

It seems that Nadir, when near Bazar Ahmad Khan, struck southwards 
from the Kurram to the Tochi river, and that he passed through or close 
to the towns of Bharth and Kaki and traversed the district of Nar 7 and 

1 Bay an, foL 32 (a). 

1 Ibid., and 32 (b). 

* Ibid., fol. 32 (b). 

* Sir E. D. Madagan informs me that, according to local tradition, the townspeople of Kaki 

and Bharth mistook the Persian advance guard for a company of merchants travelling in the 
manner of the Powindahs, and delivered an attack. They paid dearly for their mistake, 
for Nadir had them all put to the sword. As the Powindahs always travelled folly armed 
and in large bodies when in dangerous country, it is not altogether strange that the Ban- 
nuchis should have mistaken the Persian advance guard for a company of them. 

* fllayat-i-Afghani, p. 628. 

* Bayan, fol. 33 (a). 

* Sir E. Madagan states : " The natives have a strange story about a poor Bannuchi in Nar 

who, on Nadir’s approach, fled up a very large tree; the place beneath this tree was 
selected by Nadir's Khalasts as the spot on which the tents of the harem should be pitched; 
the ladies espied the poor man in the tree, and when the Shah himself came out, the poor 
wretch fell down in abject terror, but Nadir, instead of punishing him, said with a sort of 
princely contempt that, as the harem was now of no value, he might take it all, and the 
Bannuchi ploughman found himself saddled with an emperor's harem and all its servants 
and accoutrements. He was only too pleased to accept a few rupees from the ladies and 
to let them return to Khurasan.” These local traditions are of interest, but implidt, 
reliance must not be placed on them. For example. Sir H. B. Edwards (op. cit., VoL II, 
p. 20) relates that the people of Multan believed that the fine groves of date-palms sur- 
rounding the city owed their origin to date stones left on the ground by Nadirs soldiers, 

“ a legacy of wealth and beauty such as conquest seldom leaves behind.” It is, however, 
known for certain that Nadir did not march through Multan. 



j6o NADIR SHAH 

the Marwat desert. 1 He must have gone over the Pezu Pass, between the 
Bhittani and Marwat ranges, and then marched southwards to Dera 
Ismail Khan, where he arrived on the £th Shawwal (5th January, 1740). 2 
Sadiq Khan, the chief of the Da’udputra tribe, 3 came to pay homage to 
Nadir at Dera Ismail Khan, and promised to assist him against Khudayar 
Khan. Not long before, the increasing power and affluence of the 
Daudputras had aroused the jealousy of Khudayar Khan ; he had then 
attacked them and so incurred their enmity. 4 

At Dera Ismail Khan Nadir embarked the greater part of his army 
in boats and proceeded by river to Dera Ghazi Khan which he reached 
on the 1 5th Shawwal (1 £th January). 5 From this town he sent a further 
summons to Khudayar Khan, but the Khan again returned no answer. 

Having reduced to obedience all the tribes in the neighbourhood, 
Nadir set out southward again, and reached Larkana on the 14th Dhu’l- 
Qa‘da (12th February) ; here he received word that Khudayar Khan 
had fled in the direction of Gujerat. Leaving his baggage at Larkana, 
the Shah hastened in pursuit. 6 On arriving at Shahdadpur he found 
awaiting him some presents and a petition from the Khan 7 ; the latter, 
however, had fled across the desert to his fortress of ‘Umarkot (Akbar s 
birthplace), where he ensconced himself in fancied security. 

On the 28th Dhu’l-Qa'da (26th February) Nadir left Shahdadpur and 
made a forced march for thirty farsakhs across the desert to ‘Umarkot, 
where he arrived on the following day. Burying his treasures, the Khan 
prepared for a further flight, but found that it was too late. 8 He thereupon 
offered to submit, on condition that the lives of himself and his family 
were spared ; Nadir readily consented, for he could not afford to delay 
since his troops were without water or supplies. 9 

Various stories are told of the interview between Nadir and Khudayar 
Khan and of the manner in which the latter was made to disgorge his 
treasures. According to ‘Abdu’l-Karim, a number of objects of value 
that had formerly belonged to the Safari monarchs were discovered amongst 
them ; on enquiries being made, it was found that the Ghalzai Afghans 
of Qandahar, on being subdued by Nadir, had scattered their Persian 
spoils in all directions, and that some of these spoils had been purchased by 

l Thorburn, op. dt., p. 24, states that Nadir completely cowed the Marwats as well as the Ban- 
nuchis, and that he levied heavy tribute from both tribes. 

’ T.N., p. 212. 

* For the origin and history of the Da'udputras see Pir Ibr ahim Khan’s History of Bahawalpore, 
London, 1848, p. 24 and Mohun Lai’s A Brief Account of the Origin of the Daudputras ana 
. of the Power and Birth of Bahawal Khan, their Chief, in J.R.A.S.B. . Vol. VIT. 

*Pir Ibrahim Khan, op. dt., p. 18. 

•TH., p. 212. 

'Ibid. 

'Ibid. 

Anand Ram, fol. 183 (a), Bay an, fol. 34 (a). 

'Bavatt, fol. a* (a). 



INVASION OF INDIA: DELHI TO NADIRABAD 161 


Khudayar Khan. 1 The value of all the gold, jewels and pearls which the 
Khan was forced to hand over amounted to over a crore or rupees. 8 

After spending a few days at ‘Umarkot, Nadir returned to Larkana, 
taking Khudayar Khan with him in chains. Five days after reaching 
Larkana, he celebrated Nau Ruz there with great pomp and magnificence. 8 

It was at this time, apparently, that Zakariya Khan, in response to a 
summons from Nadir, arrived at Larkana, where the Shah treated him with 
even more courtesy and consideration than before. 4 

Since Nadir was pleased with Khudayar Khan's bearing and behaviour 
after his submission, he forgave him, and made him Khan of Thatta 
and part of Sind, which formed approximately one-third of his former 
dominions ; Nadir also conferred on him the title of Shah Quli (“ Slave 
of the Shah ”) Khan. In return, Khudayar Khan had to undertake to 
pay an annual tribute of 10 lakhs of rupees and to furnish a contingent of 
2,000 cavalry under the command of one of his sons. 5 Nadir then 
divided up the remainder of Khudayar Khan’s territories ; he gave Kachhi, 
the portion of Sind adjoining Baluchistan, to Muhabbat Khan, the 
Governor of that province, and rewarded Sadiq Khan, the chief of the 
Da’udputras, by granting him the district of Shikarpur and the high plateau 
of Sind. 

Whilst Nadir was at Larkana, an ambassador arrived from Muhammad 
Shah® bearing a letter and costly gifts. Nadir returned a suitable reply, 
and sent the Emperor a present of some fine horses and 200 camel-loads 
of Balkh melons — a trivial return for the peacock throne and the other 
treasures of India which he had been “ given ” ! 7 

After enjoining upon Zakariya Khan and his son Hayatullah the 
need for serving the Emperor faithfully, Nadir gave them both leave 
to depart. 8 

Having dispatched instructions to Rida Quli Mirza (who was then at 
Tehran) to proceed to Herat, 9 Nadir left Larkana for Nadirabad on the 

* Ibid., fol. 34 (b). See also the somewhat different accounts riven by Leech, in his Brief History 

of Kalat in J.R^A.SJB., Vol. XII, p, 485, and Sir H. Pottinger's Travels in Beloochistan, 
pp. 352 and 353. 

*T.N., p. 213, Postans, op. cit., p. 169. 

* Bay an, fol. 34(b). 

« Anan d Pam, fol. 183 (b). 

* T.N., p. 315. See also Leech, in J.R.A.S.B., Vol. XVII, p. 485. 

* Ibid., p. 215, Bayan 35 (a). Muframimad Shah is said to have become alarmed on receiving 

news of Nadir’s campaign in Sind and of his summons to Zakariya Khan, fearing lest a 
second invasion of India might be impending. 

T Mirza Mahdi may have been conscious of the relatively insignificant value ef Nadir’s presents 
to Muhammad Shah, for he devotes some space to describing how Nadir delighted above 
all in the water melons of Balkh and Herat and in a beautiful horse (T.N., p. 215), the 
moral drawn being, of course, that he sent to the Emperor the two things in which he 
himself took most delight. 

'T.N., p. 214. 

» Ibid., p. 215. 

u 



i 62 


NADIR SHAH 


13th Muharram, 1153 (10th April), taking two of Khudayar Khan’s 
sons with him as hostages. 1 The route taken was via Gandava and Sibi 
then over the 54-mile Bolan Pass, the dreaded Dasht-i-Bi-Daulat desert’ 
Shal (Quetta) and Fushanj (Pishin) ; Nadir and his army arrived at 
Nadirabad on the 7th Safar (4th May), 2 just over two (lunar) years from 
the time when he had set out from there for the conquest of India. 


1 T.N., p.215. 

Thirl -n otc 


Bayan^ fol. 35 (a). 



CHAPTER XVI 


Rida Quli Mirza’s Invasion of Turkistan : 

Ibrahim; Khan’s Last Campaign 

While Nadir was absent on his Afghan and Indian campaigns, several 
events of importance occurred in Khurasan, Turkistan, Adharbaijan and 
the Persian Gulf. 

As already mentioned, 1 Nadir had, just before his coronation in March, 
1736, appointed his eldest son Rida Quli Mirza Governor of Khurasan, 
and had ordered him to go to Andkhud and punish its contumacious 
Governor, ‘ Ali Mardan Khan Afshar. Rida Quli duly went to Mashhad 
in the spring of 1736, but he did not set out for Andkhud for another 
twelve months, presumably because his troops at first were insufficiently 
trained. In the meantime he had received orders from Nadir to go on 
from Andkhud to Balkh, as the Governor of the latter place, Abu’l-Hasan 
Khan by name, had also rebelled. 2 

When Rida Quli left Mashhad on this expedition, he was accompanied 
by Tahmasp Khan Jalayir in whom Nadir, in view of his son’s youth 
(he was then only seventeen) and impetuous nature, had vested control 
of the military operations 8 : Baba Khan Chaushlu, another commander 
of high rank, accompanied the expedition. At Maruchaq the prince’s 
forces were strengthened by the arrival of a contingent from Herat. 

When Rida Quli’s army arrived at Andkhud, some of the local Afshars 
deserted the Governor, *Ali Mardan Khan, although he belonged to their 
tribe, but he managed nevertheless to resist for nearly six weeks before 
being obliged to surrender. 4 After appointing a new Governor in place 
of ‘Ali Mardan (who was sent to Herat and executed there), and having 
subjugated the Chachaktu and Shibarqan (Marco Polo’s “ Sapurgan * j 
districts, Rida Quli and his army advanced on Balkh. Having defeated 
an Ozbeg force near Aghcha and taken that town, the army went on 
towards Balkh, the outskirts of which it reached on the 3rd Rabi‘ I (1st 
July, 1737). 5 Abu’l-Hasan, the Governor, who was a degenerate descen- 

* See p. 102 above. * K.N., p. 226. 

* According to Muhammad Kayim (K.N., p. 197), Nadir sent these orders to Ri$a Quli at 

the time when he was leaving Isfahan for Qandahar. 

4 K.N., pp. 197-201. Mirza Mahdi {T.N., p. 183} states that the town snrrendered after a siege 
of no more than three days ; as Muhammad Karim's account of this campai gn is so much 
fuller and is so obviously based on ate better knowledge of the facts, I have no hesitation 
in following his version rather than that of Mirza Mahdi whenever there is any divergence 
between the two. 

* T.N., p. 182. 


163 



NADIR SHAH 


164 

dant of Chingiz Khan, wished to submit immediately, but an Ozbe 
chief named Sayyid Khan insisted on resisting. After a short but shar 
engagement the Persians routed the Ozbegs with heavy loss and the 
forced their way through the defences of Balkh. Abu’l-Husan afte 
holding out for a short while in the citadel, submitted to Rida Quli, wh 
treated him well because of his lineage, but sent him, together with othe 
leaders and notables of the place to Nadir at Qandahar . 1 

Rida Quli sent Shah Quli Beg Qajar, the commander of the Mer 
contingent, in pursuit of Sayyid Khan and his men ; the Qajar chie 
caught up with and inflicted heavy loss upon the Ozbegs and then pursuec 
them again. As there was a possibility of Sayyid Khan being strongh 
reinforced by other Ozbeg chiefs, Baba Khan Chaushlu and severa 
thousand men were sent to join Shah Quli Beg ; Sayyid Khan thereupor 
fled to the Qunduz district, where he managed to elude his pursuers, who. 
baulked of their prey, eventually returned to Balkh . 2 

Meanwhile, Rida Quli had called upon Daniyal Beg, the chief of the 
Qungrat 8 tribe to submit, but he merely returned an evasive answer. 
In some perplexity, the prince consulted Tahmasp Khan, who counselled 
vigorous measures. “ Conquest,” he said, “ is by striving and effort .” 4 
Rida Quli acted on this advice, and set out with part of his forces, but 
without artillery, for the Oxus, in company with Tahmasp Khan ; after 
crossing the river, they marched for forty-eight hours to the Qungrat 
encampments and quickly compelled Daniyal Beg to submit . 5 

Rida Quli, although not authorised by his father to undertake any 
operations on the further side of the Oxus, then boldly marched on Qarshi, 
after sending orders to Balkh for his artillery to be' dispatched to him . 8 

Muhammad Rahim Bi, the Hakim Ataliq, who was the principal 
minister and adviser 7 of Abul-Faid, the King of Bukhara, had received 
word of the Persians’ operations in Transoxiana and of the threatened 
attack on Qarshi. He collected a considerable force and succeeded in 
reaching Qarshi before Rida Quli and his army could do so. When the 
Persians appeared, a severe engagement took place outside the town, 
in which the Ozbegs were worsted, many of their leaders being killed. 
The Hakim Ataliq immediately sent word to Bukhara that, unless rein- 

1 K.N., pp. 207 and 208. 

1 Ibid ., pp. 208-212. 

* Ihe Qungrat are a clan or subdivision of the Qazaqs (see M. A. Czaplica's The Turks of Central 

A st a tn History and at the Present Day, p. 38. 

1 K.N., p. 214. 

'Ibid., p. 216. 

* 216; T.N., p. 183. 

1 belonged to the well-known Mangit (or Manqit) family, and (like so many of the prominent 
men of those parts) was a descendant of Chingiz Khan. Abu’l-Faid Kh&n, the weak King 
oM^ wym^ puppet in his capable hands (see A. VAmWry’s History of Bokhara, 



RIDA QULI MIRZA’S INVASION OF TURKISTAN 165 

forcements were dispatched, the town would fall. Abu’l-Faid at once 
summoned the tribesmen of the Andijan, Samarqand, Khojend, Tashkend 
and other districts to send assistance, and appealed to Ilbars, the Khan 
of Khwarizm, 1 * * to do likewise. He also requested the Qaraqalpaqs and 
Qazaqs to send men. 

When he deemed his forces to be sufficiently strong, Abu’l-Faid left 
his capital and succeeded in penetrating the Persian lines round Qarshi 
and entering the town. A few days later the Bukharan army emerged 
to give battle. 

Seeing that his men were alarmed, Rida Quli summoned his commanders 
to a council ( kingash ), and said : “ For a few to fight so many is far from 
wise ; let us return to Balkh.” Tahmasp Khan thereupon pointed 
out that if they retreated, the Ozbegs would pursue and inflict serious 
losses on them ; if Nadir were there, he said, he would attack, despite 
the heavy odds. The prince acted upon Tahmasp Khan’s advice as soon 
as his cannon arrived from the Oxus, but it was Tahmasp Khan and not the 
prince who directed the operations, because Nadir had ordered that the 
former was to have supreme authority in military matters.* 

The battle went at first in favour of the Ozbegs, but the Persians, 
though driven back, did not lose heart. When, at length, their cannon 
came into play and caused much havoc in the enemy ranks, the tide 
turned. Adina Beg, the leader of the Aq Yalan tribesmen and chief of 
Khojend and Tashkend, was killed, together with many other men of note, 
and the whole Ozbeg army was forced back to Qarshi, the siege of which 
was resumed. 8 Leaving sufficient men to keep Qarshi closely invested, 
Rida Quli, Tahmasp Khan and Baba Khan Chaushlu marched to the 
neighbouring fortress of Shulluk, 4 * * * which fell after a siege lasting over a 
month. During this siege the Persians sustained a serious loss when an 
Ozbeg marksman killed Baba Khan Chaushlu.® 

In the meantime, Ilbars of Khwarizm, who had come somewhat tardily 
to Abu’I-Faid’s assistance, had reached the outskirts of Bukhara, but found 
that the King had already left for Qarshi. The treacherous chief then 
conceived the idea of seizing Bukhara for himself, in Abu’I-Faid’s absence. 

1 Ilbars (or Yolbars, as he was sometimes called) Khan Qazaq, like Abu’l-Faid, claimed descent 

from Chingiz Khan ; he, as will be seen below, was vain, ambitions and treacherous. 

* K.N., p. 226. 

* Ibid., p. 225-232. Mirza Mahdi also mentions this battle {T.N., pp. 183 and 184), but he is 

not so well informed as Muhammad Kazim. He praised the bravery of Ri$a Quli, quoting 
(doubtless with a view to pleasing Nadir) the Arabic phrase : as-shiUu yakhbaru * an al-asad 
(“ the cub takes after the lion "). 

* The mins of the ancient town of N akhshab surround the hill named Shulluk-t&ppa, two and 

a half farsahhs from Qarshi, which, as Barthold has shown in his Turkistan, p. 136, derives 
its name from a palace ( qarshi in Mongol cur Uighur means “ palace ’’) that the Chaghatai 
Khan Kabak built there in the XIVth century, a.d. 

* K.N., pp. 235 and 236 ; T.N., p. 184. 



NADIR SHAH 


1 66 

He accordingly send word into the city that the King had been captured 
by the Qizilbash who were on the point of advancing to take Bukhara • 
he therefore craved permission to enter the city, so as to be able to aid 
the inhabitants to defend it. A rumour was then spread, however, that the 
Persians were advancing, whereupon Ilbars, in alarm, abandoned his 
design and hastened back to Khiva . 1 

Having succeeded in taking Shulluk, Rida Quli returned to Qarshi 
on the capture of which he set much importance. In the meantime, 
however, Nadir had received word first of the operations against the 
Qungrat tribe and then of those against Qarshi and Shulluk. He feared 
that, as Turkistan was a vast kingdom which had always produced large 
numbers of fighting men ever since the days of Chingiz Khan and Timur, 
all the Ozbegs might combine and then overwhelm and massacre his 
son's relatively scanty forces before they could reach the Oxus . 2 He 
therefore wrote at once to Rida Quli rebuking him for his conduct and 
ordering his immediate withdrawal to Balkh, where he was to stay pending 
further instructions. Nadir wrote in the following terms to Tahmasp 
Khan : 

“ 0 senile pimp (qaliaban-i-fartut ) ! I ordered thee, after thou hadst taken 
Balkh, to remain there . . . but thou didst harbour thoughts of conquest instead. 
And thou hast led into evil and vain thoughts my beloved son, Rida Quli Mirza, 
who from early youth has been far removed from prudence and is renowned for 
his fearlessness, and thou hast brought thyself and my son and the victorious armies 
into the ocean of calamity. . . . May God prevent the armies of the Ozbegs, Qazaqs, 
Qalmuqs, Chaghatais, Russians (sic) and Alans from joining together and desiring 
to give battle to the small number of the victorious troops who are under thy 
command. ... On receipt of this order thou art without delay to return to Qub- 
batu’l-Islam (Balkh), and I shall order that thy head, on being severed from thy 
body, shall be sent to the world-adorning court.” 3 

Simultaneously, Nadir, according to Mirza Mahdi, sent a message 
to Abu’l-Faid that he recognised his sovereignty, as a descendant of 
Chingiz Khan and as a Turkoman, over Bukhara, and that he had ordered 
his son to cease making war upon him . 4 

The couriers bearing these messages arrived at Qarshi just when the 
Hakim Ataliq had given up hope of being able to resist any longer. As. 
was natural, he was as elated at this news as Rida Quli and Tahmasp 
Khan were downcast : thinking that Nadir’s order to his son to withdraw 
had been occasioned by a defeat which he (Nadir) had sustained, he pre- 
pared to attack the Qizilbash as soon as they began to retreat. Tahmasp 

l K . N. t p. 232. 
t Tbid., p. 240. 

*Ibii„ p. 241 and 242. 

* TJX., p. 184. (Muhammad Kazim does not mention this message from Nadir to Abu'l-Faid.) 



RIDA QULI MIRZA’S INVASION OF TURKISTAN 167 

Khan, foreseeing that such an attack would be attempted, stayed at the 
rear and, when it was delivered, made such a vigorous counter-thrust 
that he drove the Ozbegs back to the gates of Qarshi. The army then 
marched unmolested to the Oxus, but the men suffered much from the 
severe cold (it was then the winter of 1737-38). After crossing the river, 
they reached Balkh in safety. 1 * * 

Rida Quli and Tahmasp Khan then marched into the Qunduz district, 
because the Governor, at the instigation of the Ozbeg leader Sayyid Khan, 
had rebelled. The operations were successful, and resulted in the death 
of both the rebel Governor and Sayyid Khan.® The prince, having settled 
the affairs of Qunduz, allowed his rashness to prevail and entered Badakh- 
shan, but, when he had reached Kulab, in the western part of that district, 
he and Tahmasp Khan received orders from Nadir to return to Balkh 
at once and to stay there pending further instructions ; they had perforce 
to obey.® 

When, in the previous year, Rida Quli had left Mashhad for Andkhud 
and Balkh, his cousin ‘Ali Quli Khan, the eldest son of Ibrahim Khan, 
had been made Governor of Mashhad. ‘Ali Quli, who was the same age 
as Rida Quli, was a profligate youth who devoted himself far more to his 
pleasures than to his official duties. 4 

As so many men had been called up for service with Nadir and with 
Rida Quli, only a small number was available for the defence of Khurasan. 
Muhammad Amin Mihtar, a high official in the service of Ilbars, happened 
to visit Mashhad at this time, and took note not only of the character 
of ‘Ali Quli Khan, but also of the scanty garrisons in Khurasan. On 
returning to Khiva, this official reported fully to Ilbars, who, as a result, 
resolved to raise a large force and then seize Khurasan. After his return 
to Khiva from Bukhara, Ilbars summoned all the troops from the five 
fortresses (the Besh Qal‘a) of Khwarizm, and called upon the Qazaq, 
Aral, Tekk£, Yamut, Sariq, Ersari and other Turkoman tribes to send 
contingents. When he had collected a very large force (according to 
Muhammad Kazim, 100,000 strong, but this seems an exaggeration), 
he boasted that he would conquer Khurasan, defeat Nadir in India and 
then add that country to his domains. 5 

Spies arriving from Khiva informed ‘Ali Quli of Ilbars’s intentions, 
but he refused at first to credit them. Further reports, however, convinced 
‘Ali Quli and his advisers of the imminence of the danger, and he then 


1 K.N., pp. 244 and 245. 

* Ibid., p. 248. 

*Ibid., pp. 249 and 250. 

4 Ibid., p. 272. Nadir had appointed some trustworthy officials to assist and guide the young 

inan^ 

* K.N., pp. 273 and 274. 



NADIR SHAH 


1 68 

sent word to Nadir. The Shah, on hearing the news, dispatched messen- 
gers to Rida Quli and Tahmasp Khan at Balkh to bid them join him 
immediately in order to arrange ror the defence of Khurasan ; at the same 
time, he determined to punish Ilbars on his return from India. The 
prince and Tahmasp Khan, as already related, travelling via Qunduz and 
Kabul, reached Nadir at Bahar Sufia. The Shah received his son very 
kindly, but completely ignored Tahmasp Khan, who feared lest the 
threatened beheading might, after all, take place. Nadir later summoned 
Tahmasp Khan to his presence and upbraided him severely for his conduct, 
but, on seeing that Tahmasp was genuinely sorry for what he had done, 
he pardoned him. 1 

Then followed Rida Quli’s appointment as Viceroy of Persia. In' 
honour of the occasion, a great reception was held, at which coats of 
honour were given to the principal personages. After the reception, 
Nadir took Rida Quli to his quarters and gave him, in private, the following 
instructions and advice : 

" when thou dost reach the kingdom of Persia, thou art to appoint the guards 
of Shah Tahmasp, who is imprisoned in the town of Sabzavar, from among those 
who are well-disposed to thee and thou shalt prevent the rest of the people from 
having access to him, and elsewhere in the country, wherever we have appointed 
governors, mayors and deputy-governors, thou shalt show them attention and' not 
make any change or substitution ; thou shalt pay such attention as is necessary 
to the dwellers on the plain (sahra-nishin ; i.e., the Ozbegs). And if — which God 
forbid— armies from Turkistan, Turkey or Europe should reach Persia, thou shalt 
take counsel with the elders and tribal chiefs regarding the waging of war upon 
them, and in such matters take their advice, and be not foolish enough to go to 
war whilst thou canst have peace. Extirpate thieves, ruffians and* scoundrels, 
and treat well merchants and caravans from abroad so that the fame of thy justice, 
generosity and magnificence may become spread throughout the world. Be not 
prodigal with money . . . but if calamity threaten the kingdom, do not hesitate 
to make gifts from the treasury to the soldiers. Hold it not lawful to show atten- 
tion and kindness to the Safavi family and Shah Tahmasp. . . .” 2 

Before concluding this admonition, Nadir bade his son behave in the 
manner indicated “ even though — which God forbid — there is no trace or 
sign of us for six months.” On another occasion he ordered Rida Quli 
to keep on the defensive instead of attacking Ilbars, and to report fully 
“ so that I may punish him and make him an example to all rebels and 
evil-doers.” Soon after, the prince took his leave and travelled with 
all speed to Herat, where he was joined by 6,000 men who had been 
destined for Balkh. Having sent word to ‘Ali Quli Khan at Mashhad 
to join him, he marched to the Tejen river in order to see whether there 

1 K.N., pp. 265 and 267. 

* 2 7 ° aud 271 (Muhammad Ka?im does not explain how he was able to reproduce 
wnat purported to be the tpsissitna verba which Nadir addressed to his son in private). 



IBRAHIM KHAN’S LAST CAMPAIGN 


169 

was any sign of Ilbars and his men (who seem to have been unaccountably 
slow in launching their attack). On scouts reporting the approach of the 
Ozbegs in great force, Rida Quli, after consulting his commanders as he 
had been bidden, retired to Abivard. When Ilbars reached the Tejen, 
he consulted his leaders, and decided to split up the army and make 
simultaneous attacks on Mashhad and a number of other places. A 
dispute, however, arose at this stage between the Qaraqalpaqs and the Aral 
Turkomans on the one hand and the Tekk£s on the other, which Ilbars 
only managed to settle with great difficulty. Whilst this dispute was 
at its height, messengers arrived from Khwarizm with the news that a 
Qazaq chief named Toqtamish Khan was about to take advantage of 
Ilbars’s absence to raid his country. These tidings caused Ilbars to aban- 
don all thought of the invasion of Khurasan and to hurry back to his own 
dominions. 1 Rida Quli at once sent couriers to India to inform Nadir 
of the removal of the threat to Khurasan, and then proceeded from Abivard 
to Mashhad. 

Before relating how Rida Quli acquitted himself of his vice-regal 
duties during the remainder of his period of office, it is necessary to turn 
fora time to events in north-west Persia and to describe how Ibrahim Khan 
met his death there. 

Ibrahim Khan held a position in north-west Persia analogous to that 
of his nephew Rida Quli in the north-east ; Ibrahim, however, by reason 
of his age and experience, had supreme control of the military forces in 
his area. 

There was no danger of north-west Persia being invaded by either 
the Turks or the Russians, as they were at each other’s throats throughout 
Ibrahim’s term of office ; there was little risk of a rising by the Georgians, 
as Nadir had subdued them and Safi Khan Bughairi, the commandant at 
Tiflis, had seized Taimuraz and other prominent Georgians and sent 
them to the Shah as hostages. The only real menace was from the Lazgis ; 
although many of their leaders had submitted, these turbulent people 
were always ready to seize an opportunity of raiding their richer neighbours 
to the south-east and south. 

A Lazgi raid took place in October, 1736, but a combined Georgian 
and Persian force drove the marauders back. 2 

Some time in the autumn or early winter, one of Ibrahim’s wives died ; 
she was a daughter of Shah Sultan Husain and had, apparently, been 
married to Ibrahim some five years previously. 8 Ibrahim Khan ordered 

1 K.N., pp. 281-284. 

* Sekhitia Chkheidze, H. de la <?., Vol. II, Part II, p. 51. 

* Ibrahim Khan may have married her in December, 1729, when Nadir married Radiyya Begum, 

or just over a year later, when the marriage of Rida Quli Mirza and Fatima Begum took 

place (see pp. 42 and 52 above). 



NADIR SHAH 


170 


Muhammad Kazim’s father, who was “ one of his sincere friends,” 1 to 
take the body to Mashhad for burial. He carried out his task, and 
brought back his son Muhammad Kazim with him to Adharbaijan ; 
Ibrahim treated the youth kindly and appointed him, at his own request* 
one of his yasauls. 

During the same winter Ibrahim, at Nadir’s request, sent his eldest 
son, ‘Ali Quli Khan to Mashhad, of which place, as already stated, he was 
made Governor. Soon after, Taimuraz’s daughter Kethewan was also 
sent to Mashhad, where she was married to ‘Ali Quli with much pomp and 
ceremony. 2 

Politically, 1737 was a quiet year on the north-west, but it was, never- 
theless, a year of tragedy, for plague broke out near Ganja and spread 
with alarming rapidity. Ibrahim, who had a great horror of plague* 
left immediately for Tiflis, but learnt when approaching that city that 
the disease had already appeared there ; he thereupon set out ;for Erivan* 
but was again forestalled by the disease. Muhammad Kazim, who was 
with Ibrahim, gives a terrible account of the ravages of the plague in 
Nakhichevan, near which place they had camped. 8 In the hope of 
escaping from the scourge, they then returned to Tabriz ; soon after 
arriving there, Muhammad Kazim’s father died very suddenly, but not* 
apparently, of plague. Ibrahim remained for some time in Tabriz 
enjoying himself, but he hurriedly departed when the dread disease made 
its appearance in that city (according to Muhammad Kazim, no less than 
47,000 persons died there in two months). After spending some time, 
at Ardabil, Ibrahim returned to Tabriz when it was reported to be free 
of plague (this was, apparently, early in 1738). 4 

In the spring or early summer of 1738, Ibrahim received news of Rida 
Quli’s .military exploits in Turkistan, which awoke in him the 'spirit of 
emulation. Speaking of Rida Quli’s campaign, he said : “ He, in youth, 
has taken the whole of Ma wara an-Nahr (Transoxiana) ; we must go- 
and take the kingdom of Daghistan.” 5 Orders were accordingly issued 
to the tribal leaders in Adharbaijan and the neighbouring districts to- 
assemble at Tabriz with their men. When these troops arrived, Ibr ahim 
went to Qarabagh where contingents from Shirvan, Erivan, Georgia and 
elsewhere joined him ; amongst the Georgians was Taimuraz of Kakheti* 
who had just returned from Qandahar. Marching via Barda*a, Ibrahim 
crossed the Araxes and the Kura, and summoned the “ Little Usmi 


1 K.N., p. 310 : az jumla-yi-ahla§-kishan. 

•According to Muhammad Kazim ( K.N . , p. 316), she had an escort of 2,500 Georgian soldiers ; 

“P? v ’rr ?v 1S vJ 1 ?^ ev ® r », v ®?7 ih-inforxned in regard to the manner of her betrothal, for 
. v Vakhnsht ( H . it la G., Vol. II, Part I, p. 195) should be consulted. 

'K.N., pp. 324 and 325. 

*Ib%d., p. 336. 

‘ Ibid., pp. 337 and 338. 




Marriage of ‘Ali Quli Khan and the Princess Kethewan 
Reproduced from the MS. of the Kitab-i-Xa.iiri by kind permission of the Institui Vostokoi'uleniya, Leningrad 


[. Facing page 170 



IBRAHIM KHAN’S LAST CAMPAIGN 


171 


(the chief of the Kakh and Qaniq districts), the “ Great Usmi,” Ahmad 
Khan (of the Qaraqaitaq), the Shamkhal (apparently, Surkhai and not 
Khass Fulad is meant), Surkhai’s son Murtada ‘Ali, who had inherited 
his father’s turbulent spirit, and other tribal leaders to come to him. With 
the exception of the “ Little Usmi,” all refused, and Murtada *Ali openly 
revolted, 1 * 

Ibrahim, who was now at the head of 32,000 men, having crossed the 
Agri Chai, went to Kakh, where he held a conference with his commanders. 
It was decided to build a strong fort at Kakh in which the heavy baggage 
was to be left ; the bulk of the army would then march westwards to a 
place called Aq Burj (“ White Tower ”), 3 where Shah ‘Abbas had built 
a residence. A further fort was to be constructed at Aq Burj, which would 
serve as an advanced base for the operations against Jar and Tala.® 

At this stage two couriers arrived from Nadir bearing orders for the 
Merv leaders and troops to be given leave ; similar orders were dispatched 
to other parts of the country. Muhammad Kazim, being a zealous young 
man, nevertheless proposed remaining on with Ibrahim, who accepted 
his offer. It was then arranged that the Merv men, some sixty in all, 
should leave on the next day. That night Muhammad Kazim dreamt 
that the Lazgis were attacking and defeating the Persians and that he 
saw Ibrahim’s flag “ blackened ” and the Khan himself, together with 
his horse, covered with mud and earth. Taking this dream as a bad 
omen, he went to Ibrahim Khan the next morning, and, without men- 
tioning his dream, said that, as all his companions were returning to their 
homes, he could not face life without them. Seeing that the youth was 
distressed, Ibrahim gave him a present and allowed him to go with the 
others. 4 Travelling via Tabriz, where his father’s body had been tem- 
porarily interred, Muhammad Kazim was able to take the corpse with 
him as far as Mashhad and bury it there. 

Ibrahim Khan then proceeded to Aq Buij, where the fort was speedily 
built and preparations for the attack on Jar and Tala were made. Mean- 
while, the Lazgis had had warning of Ibrahim Khan’s intentions ; besides 
collecting all the available men in the neighbourhood, they sent urgent 
appeals for aid to the Lazgis and Qaraqaitaqs in Daghistan, 20,000 of 
whom rallied to their support. Two Jari Lazgis named Ibrahim Divana 
and Khalil, who were in command of the combined forces, posted men in 
the defiles through which the Persians would have to pass. Ibrahim 
Khan sought to counter this move by sending Shirvani and Georgian 
troops into the mountains to take these men in the flank or rear. Very 


I K.N., pp. 339 and 340. 

I I have been unable to identify this 


place, 


bat it was evidently dose to Jar. 



I?a NADIR SHAH 

heavy fighting ensued, in which the issue was in the balance until a con- 
verging movement by the Khurasani jazayirchis turned the scale against 
the mountaineers. The Persians then made a successful raid on the 
Lazgis’ baggage, but an attempt to storm a strong position on a hill-top 
held by Ibrahim Divana and Khalil was repulsed with heavy loss. Ibrahim 
Khan wished to deliver a frontal attack in force, but was dissuaded by his 
commanders, who said that the position was impregnable. A move was, 
therefore, made to reach the enemy by another route which involved the 
crossing of a high ridge by a steep path on each side of which was thick 
forest. Hearing of Ibrahim Khan’s intentions, the Lazgi leaders called 
for volunteers and posted them in ambush on either side of this path. 
When Ibr ahim ’s forces appeared, the Lazgis held their fire until the 
Shirvani, Kurdish and Georgian contingents had passed, and then poured 
in devastating volleys at point blank range upon Ibrahim Khan, his staff 
and his escort of jazayirchis . The Persians, being unable to see their 
foes, and being taken by surprise, were at a great disadvantage, and suffered 
very heavy casualties. Ibrahim Divana, who was with the Lazgi volun- 
teers, recognised Ibrahim Khan and fired at him, wounding him in the 
head ; the Persian standard bearer was shot dead, as was also Oghur 
Khan, the Governor of Ganja, when pleading with Ibrahim to hasten on 
and escape from the ambuscade. Seeing that the Persians were in con- 
fusion, Ibrahim Divana and Khalil and their men charged. Ibrahim 
Khan was struck by another bullet which shattered his arm ; almost 
immediately after, Ibrahim Divana fired at him once more, killing him 
almost instantly. Desperate hand to hand fighting followed, and but 
few of those who had been with Ibrahim were able to escape and take the 
news to the rest of the army . 1 On the death of Ibrahim Khan, the com- 
mand devolved upon Muhammad Khan Afshar, a relative of Nadir, who 
succeeded, but not without difficulty, in reaching the Araxes ; Taimuraz, 
having been with his Georgians, was one of the survivors . 2 

Although Ibrahim’s body was at first treated with respect and was 
placed in a coffin, it was afterwards taken out by some Jari Lazgis, who 
suspended it from a tree and burnt it . 8 When it is realised how the Lazgis 

‘The above description of Ibrahim Khan's death is a condensed translation of Muhammad 
Karim's version of the affair (K.N., pp. 351-353) ; although he does not state the source 
of his information, his account is so vivid and detailed as to leave little or no doubt as to 
its accuracy. The other authorities give very meagre information; Sekhnia Cbkheidze 
states (H. de la G., Vol. II, Part II, p. 53) that Ibrahim left Tabriz in 1738, summoned 
the Kaxtlians to meet him at Kakh, and then, -when they had done so, devastated the Jar 
and Tala district. While Ibrahim and his army were on their way back, the Lazgis attacked 
and routed them, killing Ibrahim, Oghouli (Oghur) Khan and many others. 

* Sekhnia Chkheidze, H. de la G., Vol. II, Part II, p. 53. 

* K.N., pp. 355-357. N. F. Dubrovin, in his Istoriya voiny i vladichestva Russkikh na Kaukaze 

(Vol. I, p. 582), mentions a tradition current in that part of the country to the effect that 
a kourgan is to be found there which contains the remains of Ibrahim Khan, who was 
burnt by the people of Jaro-Bielokan. 



IBRAHIM KHAN'S LAST CAMPAIGN 173 

treated his^ brother s body, Nadir's fierce hatred of these people and his 
strong desire for revenge can be more readily understood. 

Ibrahim Khan, although not lacking in bravery, had none of his brother's 
genius ; as a commander, he was only mediocre. Judged by the standards 
of those times, he was not wantonly cruel, though at times unjust. His 
behaviour towards Muhammad Kazim shows that he was kind to his 
subordinates. On the other hand, he was, like Taqi Khan Shirazi, 
avaricious and fond, of receiving presents ; once, when the Governor of 
Shirvan sent him gifts consisting of 100 tomans in cash, several horses 
and some fine wearing apparel, and promised to send a more considerable 
present before long, Ibrahim immediately dispatched a messenger to 
collect this further gift, much to the Governor's consternation. 1 

It has not been possible to establish the exact date of Ibrahim's death ; 
according to Muhammad Kazim, 2 the tragedy occurred in the month of 
Sha ban, 1 1 5 . , (the last figure is omitted, but it must be intended for 
1*151). This would mean that his death took place betw r een the 14th 
November^ and the 12th December, 1738, which, even if it happened 
at the beginning of Sha* ban, seems to leave but little time for the news 
to have reached Nadir at Peshawar early in the following January. It 
therefore appears probable that Ibrahim was killed some time in October. 

1 P * 332 * 

s Ibid,, p. 353 * The news also reached Gombroon in January, 1739. 



CHAPTER XVII 

The Viceroyalty of Rida Quli Mirza 

The circ ums tances under which Rida Quli Mirza received his appointment 
as Viceroy and the measures which he took to ward off the threatened 
attack by Ilbars on Khurasan have already been described in Chapter XVI. 

After it had been established beyond doubt that Ilbars and his hetero- 
geneous horde had abandoned their idea of invading Khurasan and that 
they were returning to Khwarizm, Rida Quli left Abivard for Mashhad 
and dispatched messengers to his father with the news. 

Making Mashhad the seat of his government, the prince soon began 
to show signs that much of his father’s advice to him had fallen upon deaf 
ears. In considering Rida Quli’s behaviour during the period of his 
viceroyalty, it is important to bear the following facts in mind. In the 
first place, he was responsible to no one save his father, who was many 
hundreds of miles on the further side of the Hindu Kush. Nadir, it is 
said, had, when making Rida Quli Viceroy, arranged that his brother 
Ibrahim should have some measure of control over him, 1 but Ibrahim, 
as the Shah and his son were soon to learn, was already dead when this 
arrangement was made. Secondly, the young prince was, as' has been 
seen, impulsive and at times injudicious. Lastly, there were long periods 
when he was completely without authentic news of his father ; the longest 
of these periods lasted, it is said, 2 for no less than ten months, namely, 
from May, 1739, until March, 1740, but this seems scarcely credible. 

During the first three months of his residence in Mashhad, Rida Quli 
formed a special corps, 1 2,000 strong, of Khurasani jazayinhis , whom 
he equipped with gorgeous uniforms of cloth of gold and with arms 
inlaid with gold and silver : all these men, as Muhammad Kazim quaintly 
but expressively put it, were “ adorned like a Chinese picture-gallery.” 8 

The vice-regal court was by no means free of mischief-makers and place- 
seekers who, by means of flattery, sought to curry favour with the prince 

* This statement is made on the authority of V. Bxatishchev who at that time was serving, as 

interpreter to Kalushkin, the Russian Resident ; see his Nachricht von denen Traurigen 
Begebenheiten, sich zwischen dem Persischen Schache Nadir und dessert, Altesten Sonne 
Resa-KuH-Mirsa in den Jahren 1741 und 1742 zugetragen haben, in G. F. Mailer's Sammlung 
Russischer Geschichte (St. Petersburg, 1763), Vol. VIII, p. 465. 

’ K.N., p. 482. 

* Ibid., p. 284 ; the Persian wording is : chun $urat-khana-yi-Chin arasta. Muhammad Ea?im 

had just arrived at Mashhad and entered the prince’s service, so his statements regarding 
Rid* Quli’s actions at this time may be relied upon. 

174 



THE VICEROYALTY OF RIDA QULI MIRZA 175 

and so achieve their ends. Rida Quli was too inexperienced to realise 
that sound advice could not be expected from such men, and when they 
suggested to him that the governors whom his father had appointed might 
revolt if they were without news of him for long, he lent too ready an ear 
to them. He thereupon dismissed a number of these officials and replaced 
them with his own nominees. 1 In addition, he became most arbitrary 
and autocratic, and frequently inflicted the death penalty for trivial offences. 2 
Hanway,® in writing of the prince’s behaviour at this time, said that he : 

. by practising all the acts of cruelty and extortion, soon incurred the hatred 
of the people. In order to cover his rapacious avarice, he took the specious name 
of a merchant.” 

Hanway then proceeded to mention Rida Quli’s monopoly of the silk 
trade. Elton and Graeme 4 (who, as will be related in Appendix I, arrived 
in Gilan in June, 1739, with a trial consignment of goods belonging to 
certain members of the Russia Company) stated that Rida Quli had, by his : 

" Kupecheens 6 become, in a manner, the sole Merchant or Trader in all Persia, 
as none but the Schah’s Kupecheens could buy any Goods imported. And as to 
Raw Silk, not only the Product of the Province of Gilan, but of all the other Pro- 
vinces that produce Silk, was wholly engrossed by the Schah. Hence we, amongst 
the rest, were obliged to tender our Goods to the Schah’s Kupecheen.” 

Elton and Graeme, however, subsequently state that it was not Rida 
Quli, but a merchant of Isfahan (whom he had made his Treasurer) who 
“ engrossed ” to himself all the European imports.® Notwithstanding 
these restrictions upon trade, the prince, in response to a petition from 
Elton and Graeme, gave them considerable trading privileges in August, 
l 739’ 7 They expressly state : 

“ that he (Rida Quli) is ready to redress Grievances, and encourage trade, we could 
produce several Instances ; witness the Decree ... he so readily granted us, and 
that, it is said, he lately granted to the Armenians, which impowers them to carry 
their Goods to any Market in Persia, without regard to the Schah’s Kupecheens, 
that it is to be hoped the Treasurer's Projects are near to an end .” 8 

Further, it is to be noted that this trading monopoly, if it existed at all in 

1 K.N., p. 483. 
t Ibid., p. 285. 

* Travels, Vol. IV, p. 180. 

‘ See Elton and Graeme's A Journey through Russia into Persia by Two English Gentlemen who 
went in the year 1739 from Petersburg, tn order to make a Discovery how the Trade from Great 
Britain might be earned on from Astracan over the Caspian, London, 1742, pp. 26 and 27. 

* “ Kupecheen " is a corruption of the Russian word Kupchina meaning “ merchant ". 
•Elton and Graeme, op. c it., p. 29. 

7 Ibid., op. cit., p. 45. 

* Ibid., p. 32. 



NADIR SHAH 


176 

the centre and south of the country, did not conflict with the trading 
privileges of the East India Company. 

Although he was, at times, both cruel and unjust, Rida Quli could 
on occasion show that he had some thought for the interests and welfare 
of the people. When, some time in 1739, Taqi Khan, the Beglarbegi 
of Fars, ordered the Kalantar (mayor) of Kirman. to collect and forward 
to him 1,500 tomans in respect of taxes, 1 the official made representations 
to Rida Quli, with the result that the Prince gave instructions for the 
order to be cancelled. Meanwhile, however, the Beglarbegi had forced 
the Kalantar to raise the money ; the luckless official, being unable to 
obtain more than a fraction of the amount from the populace, had to 
borrow the balance from the representatives of the English and Dutch 
companies at Kirman. The Kalantar thereupon made further representa- 
tions to Rida Quli, who immediately ordered the Beglarbegi to refund the 
money, out of which the Europeans were to be repaid all that they had 
advanced. 2 

This was not the only occasion on which Rida Quli intervened to annul 
some high-handed action by Taqi Khan. In the autumn of 1738 the 
Beglarbegi performed some unspecified action to the detriment of the 
East India Company. The Gombroon Agent referred the matter to 
the President at Bombay, who thereupon wrote to Nadir complaining of 
the Beglarbegi’s conduct. This letter reached Persia during the Shah’s 
absence, and was dealt with by Rida Quli. The prince : 

" in answer thereto wrote the Agent that He had signified our Complaint to the 
Beglerbeggy who would do Us justice : they (i.e., the Agent and Council at Gom- 
broon) are well informed the Beglerbeggy is much exasperated at this Letter .” 3 

In October, 1739, Taqi Khan’s son was at Isfahan, on his way to Rida 
Quli’s court. It is said that the prince, at the instigation of some of the 
Beglarbegi’s enemies, had the son deprived of his equipage, horses and 
arms. There can be no doubt that Rida Quli and Taqi Khan greatly 
disliked one another, and it is possible that the Beglarbegi may later 
have used his influence with Nadir to the young prince’s detriment. 

The outstanding event during Rida Quli’s tenure of the office of Viceroy 

1 Volume X of the Bombay Government Public Consultations quotes a letter from Gombroon 
of the 20th March, 1739 * which states that the Beglarbegi had just informed the Agent 
of his intention to raise 20,000 tomans, to reimburse himself for the expenses to which 
he had been, put in connection with the Muscat expedition. 

4 The particulars given above are taken from the Bombay Government Public Consultations, 
Vol. XI, 1740, the entry in which is based on a letter from Gombroon of the 28th February, 
1 740, The Gombroon Diary gives no details of this incident, but makes (on the 23rd February, 
174^) the following comment upon Rida Quli’s action : “ It is no unpleasant Prospect 
of what Ms future Reign may be, to find this Prince interest himself so much in favour of 
his Subjects." 

1 Bombay Government Public Consultations , Vol. X, 1739. 



THE VICEROYALTY OF RIDA QULI MIRZA 177 

was the execution of the luckless ex-Shah Tahmasp and his family. This 
cruel act, for which the prince must be held directly responsible, is un- 
doubtedly a great stain upon his character. 

As early as the spring of 1 739 it was reported m Persia that disaster 
had befallen the army in India and that the Shah himself had perished, 1 
and other rumours to the same effect were afterwards repeatedly in cir- 
culation ; in the absence, often for long periods, of reliable news, these 
reports were widely believed. 2 * * * * * A particularly persistent report of Nadir’s 
death reached Persia late in 1739. Several months had already elapsed 
since reliable news of Nadir had been received, and Muhammad Husain 
Khan, of the Yokharibash Qajars of Astarabad, who was in the prince’s 
service, urged him, as a precautionary measure, to put the ex-Shah Tahmasp 
and his two sons to death, on the grounds that, if the reports of Nadir’s 
death were confirmed, there would probably be a rising at Sabzavar in 
favour of the imprisoned Safavis ; such a rising, he maintained, might 
spread, and so have most dangerous consequences for him. Some other 
leaders like Rahim Sultan of Merv supported Muhammad Husain Khan’s 
recommendation, and the prince, after deliberating for two days, finally 
gave his assent. Muhammad Husain Khan then set out for Sabzavar 
to give effect to this decision. When he arrived at the building where the 
ex-Shah and his family were confined, Tahmasp, it is said, guessed what 
his intentions were, and entered his harem where cries and lamentations 
soon filled the air. Muhammad Husain thereupon forced his way into the 
harem, seized Tahmasp and strangled him with a piece of rope that he 
had brought. Tahmasp’s son ‘Abbas, who was then a boy of eight, 
flung himself on the corpse in a paroxysm of grief, whereupon the execrable 
Qajar killed him too, and then flung the younger son Isma‘il into a well. 
Someone rescued Isma‘il from the well, but he, instead of attempting to 
escape, rushed to where his father lay dead, and, as his brother ‘Abbas 
had done, cast himself weeping upon Tahmasp’s inanimate body. The 
heartless murderer then seized the boy and cut off his head. 8 There is 

1 When this rumour reached Isfahan, Otter’s Persian friends, fearing the outbreak of distur- 

bances, advised him to leave the country. Otter acted on their advice, and left Is fa ha n 

for Baghdad on the 12th /23rd April, 1739 (Vol. II, p. 2). Bratisbchev states {op. tit., 

p. 470) that the Indians in Persia deliberately disseminated false news. 

* Bratishchev, op tit., p. 470. 

• The above is an abridgement of Muhammad Karim's version of the tragedy (see the K.N., 

pp. 484-488). His account is by far the fullest that is on record and it is, apparently, the 

most accurate (as the author was at Mashhad at that time, in dose contact with the prince, 
he must have been in a position to know the facts). As regards the ex-Shah ‘Abbas, no 
credence can be attached to the story related by Muhammad Mahdi ibn Mu hamm ad Rida, 
of Tsfahan, in his Nitf-i-Jahon fi ta’rihh-i-I?fahan (Browne OR. MS. 1.5, in the Cambridge 
University Library), foil. 194 (a)-i99 (b), to the effect that he did not perish on that occasion, 
but was hidden for twelve years in a place of safety ; he was then, according to this author, 
taken to Isfahan where he made hfmsrif known to his aunts (Tahmasp’s sisters), establishing 
his identity by means of a mole on his shoulder. 


N 



NADIR SHAH 


178 

said to have been much grief in Sabzavar at these dreadful events ; the 
death of Isma'il 1 was particularly regretted as he was a handsome boy 
and had made himself very popular with the people. The bodies of the 
victims were then taken to Mashhad for burial. 

Rida Quli appears to have been completely reassured by the death of 
Tahmasp and his sons, and, being encouraged by the flatterers around hirn, 
conceived the design of setting himself up as Shah. However, this bubble 
was speedily pricked, for messengers suddenly arrived from Delhi with 
news of Nadir's victories and the occupation of the Indian capital . 2 

Muhammad Kazim states that Rida Quli, on hearing this news, repented 
of his unseemly conduct, and that he, having given orders for the streets 
and bazaars of Mashhad to be decorated and illuminated, spent several 
days in feasting and enjoyment . 8 The same authority further relates 
that Fatima Sultan Begum, Rida Quli’s wife, at first knew nothing of the 
death of her brother and nephews. During the rejoicings she noticed 
that her old nurse was weeping ; on questioning her as to the reason for 
her tears, she learnt the truth. She was so grief-stricken that she took 
her own life either by hanging herself or by poison which was contained 
in one of her rings. When Rida Quli learnt of his wife’s suicide, he was 
overcome with grief and buried her by the side of her brother in the shrine 
of the Imam Rida 4 ; a few days later, he went to Tehran, where he held 
his Nau Ruz assembly. It therefore seems probable that the murder of 
Tahmasp and his two sons took place towards the end of February, 
1740. 6 

Previous to the holding of the assembly, the prince, doubtless on receipt 
of instructions from his father, issued a proclamation at Isfahan (and pro- 
bably at every other place of importance ) 6 : 

“ whereby Every body is required to bring into the King’s Mints all Silver Coins 
that were formerly Current, such as abassees, mamoodies and nadirrees and to 
receive in lieu of them rupees being of the same value with those he (Nadir) Stamped 
in India and which are to pass for ten shahees Silver each.” 


1 Tahmasp's son Isma'il is not to be confused with the puppet Shah Isma'il III whom the 
Bakb ban. chief Ah Mardan Khan raised to the throne some twelve years later. Isma'il III, 
who was only eight years old when he was made Shah, was a great-grandson of Shah 
, Saltan IJusam through the female line (see the Fars-Nama, p. 205). 

• 4°9- * s astonishing that this news should have taken so long to reach Mashhad. 

• iota., p. 490. 0 

«IWd., p. 492-495- MuJjanunad Kazim' s account of the death of Fatima Begum seems more 
r° ^ an , fantastic story told by Bratishchev (op. cit., p. 468), namely, 

T+vhf «f ar< L 0 * ^brother’s murder, she reproached Rida Quli so vehemently that 
+ ® , C S“ short the stream of her words with his sword " (Bratishchev quotes what purports 

• The w ™ actual words, though they were uttered — -if at all — in the privacy of the narem !). 

+tf I ^wf; en S, 0I T °* tragedy by the Gombroon Agent was in a letter to London dated 
4 the 3rd /14th June, 1740. 

thS aUth0rity 0f a letter from JoS< * h Hermet ' 



THE VICEROYALTY OF RIDA QULI MIRZA 179 

The Gombroon Agent expressed the view that this change would have 
a good effect upon trade, if the exchange continued to fall there. 1 He 
went on to say that he had not yet heard of any alteration in the gold coin, 
“ nor do we find any of the other become so plenty (sic) as to be in every 
Body’s hands.” 

At Isfahan and elsewhere exaggerated reports were circulating as to 
the prince’s object in holding the assembly, it being said that 2 : 

*' he had summoned all the Cauns and Governors of Persia to attend him (at 
Tehran) as Nadir at Chulamagon (Chul-i-Mughan) and was then by order of his 
Father to take upon himself the Absolute Sovereignty as Monarch of Persia. ..." 3 

However, it was afterwards ascertained that Rida Quli’s object was 
merely to go through the annual accounts. 

In the spring of 1740, it was believed in Basra that Ahmad Pasha 
had hopes of securing the throne of Persia in the event of the oft-repeated 
rumours of Nadir’s death proving to be well-founded. 4 It is not known 
whether there was any real basis for this belief, but, as Ahmad Pasha was 
a very ambitious man and had conquered much of western Persia in the 
troubled period following the Afghan invasion, he may well have thought 
that he could repeat his exploits in the disturbances that would be almost 
certain to follow Nadir’s death, and form a kingdom for himself covering 
the Persian provinces of Kirmanshah, Ardalan and Hamadan, as well as 
the two Turkish vilayets of Baghdad and Basra. 

Although Nadir sent orders more than once to to Rida Quli to attend his 
court at Herat (where he was due to arrive early in June, 1740), the prince 
deferred obeying the summons for some time, on the grounds that affairs 
of state at Tehran still necessitated his presence there ; it is difficult to 
determine whether this was a genuine excuse or whether, as has been 
suggested, 5 it was merely a pretext to postpone the meeting with his 
redoubtable parent. When Rida Quli at length set out from Tehran, he 
was injudicious enough to travel in great style, accompanied by his 
“ Chinese picture-gallery ” corps ; moreover, he had delayed leaving 
Tehran for so long that he was too late to meet Nadir at Herat, and had to 
cut across his father’s line of march from Herat to Maruchaq. The 
meeting took place at Qara Tappa, in Badghis, on the 26th June, 1740.* 

1 Gombroon Diary, 5th /16th Febrnary, 1740 : (on the authority of the letter from Joseph 
Hermet, referred to in Note 6 on page 178). 

* Ibid., 23rd December, 1739 /3rd January, 1740. 

* Ibid., xst/i2th April, 1740 (on the authority of a letter from Joseph Hermet). 

‘ Letter from Thomas Domll, the Company’s Resident at Ba§ra, to Loudon, dated the 
5-th /16th March, 1740. 

* Bratishchev, op. at,, p. 478. 

‘ K.N., p. 510 ; Mirza Mahdi (T.N., p. 217) gives thedate (1st Rabi' II) and place of fhe meeting, 
and mentions that Nadir reviewed his son’s troops, but provides no further details. Bratis- 
chev {op. cit., p. 478) states that Nadir received his son “ more with the severity (Erns- 
fhaftigmt) of a powerful sovereign than with the kindness of a father.” 



i8o 


NADIR SHAH 


Muhammad Kazim, who had accompanied the Shah from Herat, 
states that he was mounted on an elephant and that Rida Quli and his 
officers dismounted when they had come within fifty paces of him. Nadir, 
he said, then reviewed the prince’s bodyguard and was amazed at their 
gorgeous uniforms and accoutrements, but he hid his astonishment 
and greeted his son kindly. He felt, nevertheless, that there must be 
some truth in the reports that he had received of the prince’s behaviour 
during his absence in India and of his designs on the throne, and, after 
summoning his commanders, gave the order for his son’s magnificent 
corps to be disbanded immediately ; in half an hour Rida Quli, instead 
of being at the head of 12,000 men, had no more than thirty or forty 
attendants. 1 

The prince was much upset at the disbandment of his cherished corps. 
In the late afternoon Nadir summoned him to his tent, questioned him re- 
garding his affairs and strove to console and comfort him, but he then 
went on to say : 

“ I was troubled in mind at bearing of the raising of this army. Since the people 
of Persia are unable to see two royal courts, we have made one, and this govern- 
ment, this army and this pomp and magnificence are not for thee. Arrange thy 
mode of life ... so that no one can say ill of thee.” 


Nadir then expressed great annoyance at the killing of Shah Tahmasp. 
Afterwards, he said to his commanders and nobles : 

*' My mind has been troubled by my son’s killing of Shah Tahmasp and for this, 
reason I have dismissed him from the government ( ayalat ) of Persia .” 2 


After appointing Nasrullah as Viceroy in place of Rida Quli, he sent the 
former, together with Imam Quli and his harem, to Mashhad, but kept 
Rida Quli with him on the march to Turkistan, 8 as will be related in 
Chapter XIX. 

Of the lot of the common people and peasantry during this period 
there is not a great deal on record, but what there is makes pathetic 
reading. In the south the exactions of Taqi Khan occasioned much 
misery, and many of the young recruits enrolled or rather impressed 
for the ‘Oman expedition (see the ensuing chapter) never saw their 
homes again. ^ As regards the centre and west, there is Otter’s interesting 
account of his journey from Isfahan to Baghdad via Kangavar and Kirman- 
shah in April and May, 1739* Otter draws a gloomy picture of the 
condition of the peasantry; their state had been by no means enviable when 
he had travelled to Isfahan with ‘Abdu’l-Baqi Khan in 1737, but, when 


1 K.N., p. 51 1. 


'Ibid. 


* Bayan, fol. 38 (b). 



THE VICEROYALTY OF RIDA QULI MIRZA 181 

irtf Bagh ? ad two years later > he f ound that it had deteriorated 
a good deal more. 1 

his^D/Ir^ to^the 2 -^^ ^ arcB ’ I 74 °> the Gombroon Agent referred in 


a T,/^ aSe m en i 0y ? d b / the Peo P le from the Suspension of Taxes bv Shaw Nadir 


The people were 
were concerned ; 
to a close. 


soon, alas ! to be disappointed, insofar as the taxes 
as for Rida Quli, his period of office was then drawing 


1 Otter, Vol. II, pp. 13 and 14. 



JL HE fIRST 'UMAN CAMPAIGN AND OPERA- 
TIONS in the Persian Gulf, i 73.7-1 740. 


The inception and early exploits of the Persian navy have been describee 
in Chapters VII, VIII and X. The navy, after failing to take Basra 
had made atonement by capturing Bahrain, and Latif Khan, its ambitiou: 
commander, was anxious to show that, if given the opportunity, it coulc 
accomplish a great deal more. The hoped-for chance was not long ir 
arising, for some time in 1736, the Imam Saif ibn Sultan of ‘Oman, having 
provoked a rebellion of his subjects by reason of his licentious ways, 
was compelled to appeal to Nadir for aid, 1 Latif Khan, on hearing 
of this development, persuaded Nadir to take advantage of the situation 
in ‘Oman to send a combined naval and military expedition, ostensibly 
to assist the Imam, but in reality to conquer his country. 2 Nadir could 
have needed but little inducement to agree, for, with Muscat and the 
whole of the ‘Oman coast in his hands, in addition to Bahrain, the estab- 
lishment of Persian naval supremacy in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf 
of ‘Oman would be an easy matter. 

On the 14th March, 1737, the Persian fleet, consisting of four ships 
(two of which had been purchased from the English), two “ grabs ” and 
some smaller craft, reached Gombroon from Bushire under the command of 
Latif Khan “ who hoists his Flag, being a white ground with a red Persian 
Sword in the middle.” 8 Having embarked 5,000 men and 1,500 
horses, the fleet sailed, on the 12th April, for Khor Fakkan, a deep bay 
with a safe anchorage on the ‘Oman coast 74 miles south of Ras Musandam; 
it arrived at Khor Fakkan four days later. 4 The Admiral, after landing 
some of his troops there, sailed back northwards, rounded Ras Musandam, 
and landed the remainder of the men at Julfar (Rasu’l-Khaima), where 
he met the Imam. . In company with Saif ibn Sultan, Latif Khan marched 
inland and at Falju’s-Samini defeated Bal‘arab ibn Himyar al-Ya‘riba, 
who, although a relative of Saif, was the leader of the rebels. 6 The 
Persians and the Imam’s adherents then occupied the towns of al-Jauf 


*Sfle Badgers translation of Salil ibn Raziq’s History of the Itndms and Seyyids of ‘Omdn, p. 13. 
'Gombroon Dtary, 2nd/i3tli February, 1738. 

* Letter from the Gombroon Agent and Council to London, dated 6th /17th May, 1737 {the 
Persian flag had not changed during the preceding sixty years, for Dr. Fryer described it 
as being A Bloody Sword with a double Point, in a white Field ” : see his Travels into 
Persta, London, 1698, p. 356.) 

*C. Gyfllain’s Documents sur I’Histoire, la Geografhie, et le Commerce de I’Afrique Orientals, 


(Paris, 1856), Vol. I,p. 529. 
Guillain, op. at., VoL I, p. 529. 


182 



THE FIRST ‘OMAN CAMPAIGN 


183 

and ‘Ibra, but at the latter place dissension broke out between Saif and 
Latif Khan because the Persians had begun to act as if they were already 
masters of the whole country. The alliance between the imam and the 
Persians was therefore broken off, and Latif Khan and his men returned 
to Julfar. 1 

No further steps to establish control over ‘Oman were made during the 
summer and autumn of 1737, but in November Taqi Khan, the Beglarbegi 
of Fars, received peremptory orders from Nadir to prosecute the campaign. 

In January, 1738, the Beglarbegi and Latif Khan, after commandeering 
all the English and Dutch trankeys at Gombroon, sailed for Julfar with 
6,000 men. Taqi Khan embarked with considerable misgivings, and 
quarrelled with Latif Khan because the latter had persuaded Nadir to 
undertake the venture. However, the Beglarbegi and the Admiral 
smoothed over their differences, and joined forces with Saif ibn Sultan, 
whose lack of success against his rebellious subjects had forced him once 
more to seek Persian aid. The combined armies again defeated Bal‘arab 
ibn Himyar, and after occupying the towns of Bahia and Nazwa, 2 advanced 
to Muscat. The Persians occupied the town without difficulty, but could 
not secure possession of the eastern and western forts, 8 although they 
besieged them for five weeks. The Imam quarrelled with Taqi Khan at 
Muscat, doubtless because of the Persian attempt to seize these forts. 
Saif ibn Sultan then withdrew with his fleet and troops and made terms 
with Bal'arab, who promised to assist him against the Persians. 

Taqi Khan, being unable to take the Muscat forts, went to Barka at 
the end of May, but likewise failed to obtain possession of the forts there. 
At Barka dissensions once more broke out between Taqi Khan and Latif 
Khan, with the result that the former poisoned the Admiral.* Thus 
perished Nadir’s most promising naval commander, who seemed to have 
inherited much of the seafaring spirit of the old Persian navigators of 
Siraf. 

Taqi Khan and his men were then, it appears, reduced to great straits, 
and, after an unsuccessful attempt to seize the town of Sohar, they were 
forced to take to their ships and sail to Julfar. In the meantime, disaster 
had befallen the Persian garrison at Bahia. 

The Beglarbegi, having no Latif Khan to check him, then proceeded 
to treat the Arab seamen (most of whom were Huwalas) in niggardly 
fashion ; by failing to pay them and give them adequate rations, he brought 
on a serious mutiny which resulted in the Persians losing for a time the 

1 Gombroon Diary, 21st July/ist August, 1737. 

* Salil ibn Raziq, op. cit., p. 142, Guillain, Vol. I, p. 529, Gombroon Diary, 8th /19th April, 1738. 

* These forts were known, respectively as al-Jalali and Marani ; they had beau bunt by the 

Portuguese. 

* Gombroon Diary, 26th June /7th July, 1738. 



NADIR SHAH 


184 

command of the Gulf. The mutineers and their allies, the Huwala and 
‘Omani Arabs, raided Basidu and then attacked Bahrain, where they 
besieged the garrison, and their control of the sea was such that provisions 
for the troops at Julfar had for a time to be sent in English vessels. 

The Arabs, however, were never able to agree for long among them- 
selves, and a feud which broke out between two factions towards the 
close of 1738 enabled the Persians to recover three ships, a brigantine, a 
couple of “ grabs ” and several trankeys. At the end of January, 1739, 
a naval action took place in the course of which the Arab admiral was 
blown up ; the mutineers and rebels thereupon became dispirited and 
broke off the engagement. 1 

In March the Beglarbegi arrived at Gombroon “ with positive orders 
to level Muscatt to the ground,” 2 but the outbreak of a revolt in the Kuhgilu 
province called him away before he could take any action in ‘Oman. 
After Taqi Khan had subdued the Kuhgilu rebels, he received, in October 
or early in November, the orders to proceed to Sind which Nadir had 
dispatched when delayed at the Chenab. 8 

Having obtained the loan of a large Dutch vessel and purchased stores 
from the English, Taqi Khan left Gombroon on the 3rd December for 
Sind by land via Makran, at the head of 2,000 cavalry. The fleet, which 
had taken on board several thousand Persian troops, sailed the same day. 4 
A rendezvous was made at Gwadar, whence Taqi Khan marched inland 
to Kesh, where, some time in February, 1740, he was heavily defeated 
by the Baluch tribes of Makran, led by Malik Dinar. 5 Provisions ran 
short both on shore and in the fleet, with the result that many men died 
of starvation. On the 5th/ 1 6th April, Taqi Khan returned to Gombroon 
from his disastrous expedition “wherein the greatest want of Conduct 
imaginable has appeared.” 6 Two days later, the Admiral, Mir *Ali 
Khan, arrived, looking “ greatly dejected ” ; he reported many deaths 
owing to lack of water and food. Towards the end of April, Taqi Khan 
received a curt summons from Nadir to proceed to Nadirabad, where he 
was shortly to arrive. By the 1 st/ 1 2th May the whole fleet had assembled 
again at Gombroon, but it was reported to be “ unfit for any Enterprise,” 
and fears were even entertained of an attack by the Arabs. 7 

As for Taqi Khan, he was, on arrival at the court, severely reprimanded 
and deprived for some time of his post. 

The history of the second ‘Oman campaign and subsequent operations 
in the Persian Gulf will be given in Chapter XXI. 

from Gombroon to London, dated 31st March /nth April, 1739. 

iwa, 9 See p. 156 above. 

G on&roon Diary, 19th /30th November, 1739* See also Otter, Vol. II, pp. 87 and 88. 

* v p* 214* 

* Gombroon Diary, 5 th/i6th April, 1740. ’ Ibid., ist/i2th May, 1740. 



CHAPTER XIX 


The Turkistan Expedition 

Nadir, as already related, is said to have decided, when leaving Kabul 
for Delhi, that he would invade Turkistan on his return from India. 
In arriving at this decision, he was actuated partly by his desire to punish 
Ilbars of Khwarizm for his insolence and partly by sheer love of conquest ; 
there is no evidence to show that he had already conceived the idea (which 
he afterwards held) of extending his empire far to the east and north-east, 
at the expense not only of the Central Asian potentates like Ilbars, Abu’l- 
Faid and the Khans of Tashkend and Khojend, but also of the Chinese 
Empire. If he had any such scheme in mind, he preferred to defer its 
execution until he had avenged his brother’s death by punishing the Lazgis 
and had, in the second place, overwhelmed the Ottoman Turks. It 
therefore seems that Nadir’s objective in Turkistan was only a limited one 
on this occasion. 

As regards Ilbars, there was quite a long score to settle. Early in 1 735, 
whilst Nadir was engaged in his task of expelling the Turks from Adhar- 
baijan, Ilbars had sent two bodies of Yamut Turkomans to raid and pillage 
the north-west of Khurasan. Though the local Kurds repulsed the 
marauders with heavy loss, Nadir did not forget the incident. 1 Then, 
some three years later, came Ilbars’s large-scale expedition against Khurasan 
during the Shah’s absence in India ; this expedition, as has been seen, 
ended in a fiasco, but the fact that Ilbars had threatened to invade Persia — 
in particular, Nadir’s own province of Khurasan — was more than sufficient 
to made the Shah determined to seek revenge. 

There was not, on the other hand, any red cause for complaint against 
Abu’l-Faid of Bukhara, who had surely been within his rights in opposing 
Rida Quli and Tahmasp Khan Jalayir when they made their unauthorised 
attack upon his realm. Moreover, when he had heard of the preparations 
that were being made for Nadir’s Turkistan campaign, he had sent a humble 
message to the Shah offering to submit and drawing attention to his 
ancient lineage ; he was, he said, unable to offer resistance, and trusted 
that Nadir would be his guest. 4 

As was stated at the close of Chapter XV, Nadir reached Nadirabad 
on the 4th May, 1740. During his brief stay of eight days at that place, 
he instructed ‘Abdu’I-Ghani Khan, the Beglarbegi of the province, to 

1 T.N., p. 155. * Ibid., p. 209. 

185 



i86 


NADIR SHAH 


proceed at the beginning of the autumn to Shirvan, in order to exact 
retribution from the Lazgis for the killing of Ibrahim Khan, The Abdali 
chief was to advance against the Lazgis as soon as the winter snows on 
the mountains blocked their way of escape into Avaria. Nadir’s brother- 
in-law, Fath ‘Ali Khan and 15,000 men of the Khurasan army were to 
proceed with ‘Abdu’l-Ghani to Shirvan, where they were to co-operate 
with the military and civil authorities of Adharbaijan and Georgia in the 
campaign. 1 

Soon after leaving Nadirabad, the Shah issued orders to the governors, 
deputy governors, mayors and elders of Khurasan to meet him in Herat, 
where he welcomed them on his arrival on the 10th June. Amongst 
these dignitaries was Kalb ‘Ali Khan, the Beglarbegi of Merv Shahijan, 
to whose retinue Muhammad Kazim had become attached. 2 

Nadir gave orders for his great tent to be erected in Herat. Muhammad 
Kazim relates that when this tent was being pitched, a sudden gust of wind 
blew it down, despite the efforts of the several thousand men whose task 
it was to erect it ; on the following day the same thing occurred again. 8 
When, at length, the tent was pitched, the peacock throne and other 
treasures from India were displayed in it, and the public of Herat, the troops 
and any travellers passing through the city were allowed to enter and 
examine them. 4 

A few days after Nadir’s arrival, his nephew ‘Ali Quli and his grandson 
Shahrukh (who was then aged six) reached Herat. On receiving ‘Ali 
Quli, Nadir condoled with him over the loss of his father and promised 
that he would go to Daghistan and avenge his death as soon as he returned 
from Turkistan. 5 In honour of Shahrukh, Nadir had money struck in 
the Herat mint in his name, just as, 300 years earlier, coins had been struck 
there bearing that of his namesake, the third son of Timur. 

After a halt of fifteen days in Herat, Nadir set out on his march to 
Turkistan ; after meeting his son Rida Quli, at Qara Tappii, as related 
in Chapter XVII, he proceeded in company with him to Balkh via 
Maruchaq, 6 Chachaktu and Andkhud. When only a few stages out from 
Herat, the Shah had a fort constructed ; on someone inquiring as to the 

1 T.N., p. 216. 

•K.N., p. 498. 

•Hid., pp. 499 and 500. 

1 £P- 5<?5 and 506 ; see also the T.N., p. 2x6 and -tie Bay an, foil. 37 (a)-38 (b). ‘Abdu'l- 

Karim gives a very detailed description of this tent, which was most lav ishly ornamented 
■with the jewels and pearls brought from Delhi. At Nadir’s orders, an imitation of the 
peacock throne was made (T.N., p. 216). 

* K.N., p. 508. 

• Georee Thompson, a^ factor of the Russia Company, who, with a colleague named Reynold 

Hogg, visited Khiva in the winter of 1740 /i, passed through Maruchaq in September of 
the latter year ; he described it as “A very strong place, surrounded by a double wall, 
and governed by a khan ; it has a garrison of 500 men, and is defended by several pieces 
of cannon." (Hanway, Vol. I, p. 354). 3 r 



THE TURKISTAN EXPEDITION 


187 

reason why this fort was being built when all Persia, Afghanistan and 
India were in his power, he replied : “ I do this in case an enemy should 
come ... an enemy from within is more dangerous than one from 
without.” 1 

In accordance with the orders which he had received from India, 
the officer in command of the garrison at Balkh had had 1,100 boats, 
each from two to three thousand maunds (5! to 8| tons burden), built 
on the banks of the Oxus by the Indian carpenters and shipwrights whom 
Nadir had sent out for this purpose. 2 When the royal army reached the 
banks of the Oxus at a point opposite the small town of Kilif, this flotilla 
was waiting in readiness, and the stores and corn, as well as the cannon, 
were placed on board. Part of the army was ferried across the Oxus to 
Kilif, and, when the main body began to march downstream along the left 
bank, this detachment kept pace with it on the further side. The army 
reached Kerki on the 27th Jumadi I (20th August, 1740) and arrived at 
Chaijui ten days later. 3 After sending 1 2,000 jazayirchis across the river 
on rafts and in boats, Nadir had a strong bridge of boats constructed, 
over which the rest of the army and the baggage animals crossed. Strong 
forts were then constructed at each end of this bridge. 1 

When Abu’l-Faid of Bukhara learnt that Nadir and his army had reached 
the banks of the Oxus, he became terror-stricken and sent Muhammad 
Rahim Bi, the fjakim Ataliq, to do homage to the conqueror on his behalf ; 
if, stated the envoy, the Shah would deign to go as far as Qarakul, Abu’l- 
Faid would be his host and would conclude a treaty of union with him. 
Nadir listened to these words with seeming pleasure, but, when the Hakim 
Ataliq had concluded, he remarked : “ The essence of peace is that the 
King-with-the-pomp-of-Afrasiab (Abu’l-Faid) should come here to my 
court.” 5 

When the Hakim Ataliq returned to Abu’l-Faid and delivered this 
message, the king left Bukhara to meet Nadir, but went back to the city 
on hearing that many thousands of tribesmen from the districts of Miyan 
Kal, Aq Yalu, Khojend, Andijan, Qungrat and elsewhere, being desirous of 
avenging those of their countrymen who had died when fighting against 
Rida Quli Mirza, were coming to his assistance. When the tribal leaders 
arrived, they urged Abu’l-Faid not to submit to Nadir, but to resist him ; 
although the prudent IJakim Ataliq advised against this course, the king 
resolved to adopt it. Accordingly, Abu’l-Faid and his allies marched two 
stages from Bukhara, and awaited the arrival of the Persian forces there. 6 

After waiting for two days in vain for a message from the Ataliq, Nadir 
sent out scouts to ascertain what was happening ; when these men re- 



X UAi-/ AJLV OX J.IX 1 TL 


turned with the news that Abu’l-Faid had received large reinforcements 
and was bent on war, he made immediate preparations for battle. On 
the following day the battle began. The Ozbeg forces charged, but re- 
coiled in alarm when the Persian cannon and zanburaks opened fire on 
them, as many of them had never heard or seen artillery before. They 
rallied, however, and charged repeatedly. On Nadir making a vigorous 
counter-attack, the chief of the Aq Yalu became alarmed and fled from the 
field with his men. His defection disheartened Abu’l-Faid, who thereupon 
retreated to his capital ; large numbers of Ozbegs fell in the battle and 
many more were killed and wounded during the retreat from the battle- 
field.* 

Bitterly regretting that he had not followed the wise Hakim Ataliq’s 
advice, Abu’l-Faid summoned him to his presence and bade him go once 
more to Nadir and endeavour to placate him. The Hakim Ataliq suc- 
ceeded in his mission, and Abu’l-Faid, just as Muhammad Shah had done 
after Karnal, came to Nadir at Qara'kul to make his submission. Nadir 
is said to have treated Abu’l-Faid kindly and to have made him a number 
of valuable gifts. Nevertheless, Nadir behaved as he had done in India, 
and, on reaching Bukhara, had the khutba read, and coins struck, in his name. 
The king and the people of Bukhara were made to provide daily rations 
for the Persian troops, but these, on the other hand, were not allowed 
to pillage or otherwise molest the populace ; at Nadir’s orders, bodies 
of nasaqchis patrolled the city and neighbourhood to see that these in- 
structions were obeyed . 2 It is said that Nadir, having become possessed 
of the wealth of India, looked with contempt upon the paltry possessions 
of the Bukharans . 8 

The whole of Transoxiana to the east and north-east of Bukhara to 
Samarqand and beyond was now in Nadir’s hands. At the suggestion 
of the Hakim Ataliq, he sent his brother-in-law, Lutf ‘Ali Khan, with 
2,000 men to Samarqand district to subdue the Yuz tribe, who, the Ataliq 
said, were turbulent people and were always a menace to Bukhara. After 
subduing the Yuz, Lutf ‘Ali Khan, acting under instructions from Nadir, 
removed from Samarqand and took to Mashhad the tombstone of Timur 
and the bronze gates of the Madrasa . 4 


\ PP* 5*7-522* This battle is not mentioned by Mirza Mahd i 
p. 527. 

* Bay an, fol. 42 (b), 

K*N. r pp. 532 and 533. Mu hamm ad Kazim states that the tombstone was in one block of 
yashm bo rt th meanings).. V&mbdry, in his Travels in Central Asia 
(i>onaon, 1 864), pp. 207 and 208, says that in the Turbat-i-Timur at Samarqand there are 
J ^ to “ bs P laced lengthwise, with the head in the direction of Mecca. 

^ and a half span, broad 





Nadir Shah defeats the Ozbegs 

Reproduced from the MS, of the Kitab-i-Nadiri by kimt permission of the Institut Vo$tufoa'fieniya f Leningrad 


l Facing page x88 









THE TURKISTAN EXPEDITION 189 

While Lutf *Ali Khan was absent* on this expedition, Nadir enrolled 
30,000 Ozbegs in his army and placed them under the command of a 
son of the Ataliq. 1 

On the 15th Rajab (6th October, 1740) Nadir presented Abu’l-Faid 
with a magnificent robe and himself replaced the Bukharan crown upon 
his head, and gave him the title of Shah. At the same time, however, 
he formally annexed Charjui and all other Bukharan territory south of the 
Oxus. 2 He then summoned the Hakim Ataliq and the Qushbegi® and 
requested them to inform Abu’l-Faid that he wished him to give one of 
his daughters in marriage to Rida Quli and another to his nephew ‘Ali Quli. 
Compliance being the only course possible, the king gave his consent, 
whereupon Nadir sent several ladies of his harem to the palace at Bukhara 
formally to ask for the two princesses in marriage, the elder for Rida 
Quli and the younger for his cousin. When these ladies returned, they 
said that the younger daughter of the King of Turan was “ unequalled 
for intelligence, perfection, eloquence and beauty ” ; Rida Quli, hearing 
the younger daughter thus praised, asked the matrons to request the Shah 
to let him wed the younger daughter instead of the elder one. When 
Nadir wa§ informed of this request, he said that it would be impolite 
to Abu’l-Faid to make any change and that Rida Quli must marry the elder 
daughter. When Rida Quli was notified of this decision, he was displeased, 
partly because he was ill-disposed towards his cousin ‘Ali Quli ; he is 
reported to have exclaimed : 

“ If the matter is such that I have no position, God will have compassion upon 
me. I would soon arrange to wed the daughter of the King of Khitai ” 

When the matrons reported these words to Nadir, he was greatly 
angered, and once more believed that his son was aspiring to the throne. 
Openly, he said that if Rida Quli refused to marry the elder of the two- 
princesses, he would wed her himself, and suited fus action to his word. 4 

Whilst at Bukhara, Nadir, at Abu’l-Faid’s suggestion, sent an envoy, 


was split in two in the process of removal. The removal of this tombstone was recorded 
in the Gombroon Diary on the 27th January /7th February, 1741. Besides removing this, 
tombstone, the soldiery took away with them many of the leaves of the enormous Qur'an 
which Baisonghur Ghiyathu’d-Din, Shahrukh’s son, had written and then deposited on 
his grandfather’s grave (Baisonghur, who died in a.d. 1433, was a good caUigraphist and 
ill umina tor). J. B. Fraser, when in Khabushan, found a number of these leaves (which 
measured some 12 feet by 8) in the Imatnzada or shrine of Ibrahim, ibn ‘Ali there ( Narrative 
oj a Journey into Khorassan in the years 1821 and 1822, p. 574). In 1883, at Nasiru’d-Din 
Shah's orders, two of these leaves were removed from this shrine to the museum in Tehran. 

1 K.N . , p. 533. 

* T.N., p. 219.' 

•Next to the Ataliq, the Qushbegi was the most important minister of the King of B ukhar a. , 

'K.N., pp. 533-535- 



NADIR SHAH 


190 

in company with two Khwajas of Juibar, 1 to Ilbars of Khwarizm, with 
a letter summoning him to come and ask pardon for his wrongdoing. 
When Ilbars received this message, he was so enraged that he put the 
envoy and the two Khwajas to death. 2 

Three days after his marriage and that of ‘AH Quli, Nadir sent the 
latter with Nasrullah Mirza and the harem back to Mashhad. At or 
about the same time he appointed Tahmasp Khan Jalayir Governor and 
Commander-in-Chief of his Indian possessions and ordered him to go 
and quell some disturbances that had broken out near Shikarpur.® 

After promising to send troops to Abu’l-Faid’s assistance, should 
need arise, Nadir and his army left Bukhara for Chaijui en route for 
Khwarizm. Hearing that Ilbars had dispatched a strong Ozbeg and 
Turkoman force from Khiva with the object of destroying the forts and 
the bridge of boats at Charjui before he could arrive there, he hastened 
on in advance of the main portion of the army, at the head of a picked 
body of troops. Reaching Charjui before the Ozbegs and Turkomans 
could do so, he crossed over to the left bank of the river and prepared for 
battle ; when the Khwarizm forces appeared on the following day, he 
attacked them vigorously and speedily put them to flight. 4 A halt of 
several days was made at Charjui to enable the rest of the army and the 
baggage train to arrive and to cross the Oxus. Whilst at Charjui, Nadir 
gave his son Rida Quli leave to go to Mashhad. Taqi Khan Shirazi, 
who had been summoned to the court in disgrace because of his incom- 
petent leadership of the Makran expedition, had succeeded in securing 
his reinforcement as Beglarbegi of Pars ; at Charjui he received further 
marks of Nadir’s favour, and was then sent to Mashhad, whence he later 
proceeded to Pars. ‘ In view of his hatred of Rida Quli, it is possible that 
he may have used his strange influence with Nadir to the prince’s detriment. 

Having laden the river craft with stores and canqon and sent these 
on down stream, Nadir left Chaijui for the Deveh Boyun (“ Camel’s neck ”) 
gorge, where the river is constricted to one-third of its normal width. 
On this march the army was in four divisions ; one of these divisions 
preceded the baggage train, while another followed it, and the other two 
guarded the flanks. Further, 6,000 cavalry kept close by the river in order 
to protect the flotilla. It is said that the dust raised by the marching troops 

1 See Khamk ov’s Boukhura, its Emir and its People (London, 1845), p. 234, for a description of 
the Khwajas of Juibar (who formed one of the two religious classes of B ukhar a) - 

* Abdu’l-Karim Bukhari, p. 48. 

* T.N., p. 219. Pir Ibrahim Khan (op. cit., pp. 27-30) states that Jahmasp Khan, when en- 

deavouring to quell a rising of the Da'udputras, was defeated by fham a nd lost the bulk of 
his army. 

*K.N., pp. 538-542, T.N., p. 221. It is stated in the Bay an (fol. 47 (b) ) that the Qizilbash 
troops suffered very severely from thirst on this occasion, and that, when the S hah was 
informed of this, he had the noses of the two chief water-carriers cut ofi, because they had 
not carried out their duties properly. 



THE TURKISTAN EXPEDITION 


191 



was so thick that nothing could be seen, and that many men developed 
eye-trouble because of it. 1 On reaching Deveh Boyun, Nadir made a 
fortified ddpot for his baggage, and then, towards the end of October, 
1740, he and his men set out for Fitnak, Near that place the Persians en- 
countered Ilbars’s forces and a fierce battle resulted. A body of 6,000 
Yamut Turkomans fought with great bravery, but they and the other 
troops on the Ozbeg side proved unable to withstand a series of charges 
led by Nadir in person. 2 Ilbars and his men were compelled to fall back 
and take refuge in the strong fortress of Hazarasp, situated 13 miles to 
the north-west of Fitnak ; the Khan had previously given orders for the 
low-lying land surrounding the fortress to be flooded from the numerous 
canals. The result was that when Nadir approached Hazarasp, he found 


1 Bay an, fol. 51 (b). 

1 K.N,, pp. 544 and 545 ; it is stated in a marginal note on p. 544 that this battle was fought 
on the nth Sha'ban (1st November, 1740}. 




192 


NADIR SHAH 


that he could not get his cannon within effective range 1 ; it being imprac- 
ticable to deliver a frontal assault under such conditions, he blockaded 
the fortress, after defeating another body of Yamut Turkomans. As 
Hazarasp was known to be well stocked with provisions, a long and 
difficult siege seemed to be in prospect, especially as the winter was setting 
in. Fortunately for Nadir, he heard that Ilbars’s family and treasures 
were at Khanqa, a fortress situated five miles west of the Oxus and 20 
miles east by north of Khiva. He promptly marched his army off to 
Khanqa, hoping that this move would induce Ilbars to emerge and 
hasten to protect his family and treasures. This design succeeded, for 
Ilbars left Hazarasp the same night, and, by swift marching, reached 
Khanqa just as the Persian army was approaching it from the other side. 2 
Gathering his forces together once more, he attempted to take the offensive, 
but he was defeated and then besieged in Khanqa. The garrison resisted 
bravely for two or three days, but when, on the 24th Sha‘ban (14th 
November), the Persians, after exploding some mines under the walls, 
were preparing to deliver a general assault, Ilbars became so terrified 
that he asked for quarter ; on Nadir agreeing to pardon him, he surren- 
dered. The Shah gave Ilbars a tent next to that of Fath ‘Ali Khan and 
then summoned the inaqp and chiefs ; having presented them with coats 
of honour and other gifts, he requested them to assure the people of Khanqa 
that they would not be harmed. 4 

Hearing that Nadir had promised to pardon Ilbars, the relatives of the 
two murdered Khwajas of Juibar came to him and asked for the Khan to 
be executed. 5 Notwithstanding his promise, the Shah then sent for 
Ilbars and (to quote Hanway) : 

“ challenged him with the murder of his embassadors : he excused himself, alledging 
that it was done by the Ousbegs without his knowledge. To this the Per sian king 
replied ; ‘ If you have not abilities to govern the few subjects who inhabit your 
territories, you do not deserve to live ; and for the affront shewn me in the murder 
of my embassadors, you have no title to die like men ; you shall die like dogs/ 
He then ordered the executioners to cut the throat of the Khan and about thirty 
of his chief attendants, a punishment esteemed the most ignominious among the 
Persians. Upon the news of the fate of this Khan, all the town and villages sur- 
rendered except the capital ." 6 

* K.N., p. 547, T.N., p. 221, Bay an, fol, 52 (a). After the hooding of the surrounding country, 

the only means of access to Hazarasp was by one narrow road. 

*K.N., p. 551. 

* inaqs were senior members of the tribe and military chiefs (Barthold’s article on Khwarizm 
in the E.I., Vol. II, p. 9x0). V&mbery states that the inaqs of Khwarizm were four in 
number, two being the nearest relatives of the Khan, and the other two being also of his 
tornly, but not so closely related ; one of the former two was always Governor of Hazarasp 
[Travels ttt Central Asia, p. 335). 

pp. 554-556. 

* Abdu’l-Karim Bukhari, p. 49. 

•Hanway, Vol. IV, p. 206 (on the authority of Thompson and Hogg). 



THE TURKISTAN EXPEDITION 


r 93 

As at Bukhara, Nadir forbade his troops to molest the inhabitants, 
and put to death several of his officers and men who had caused a disturb- 
ance in the town . 1 

Having settled affairs at Khanqa, Nadir marched to Khiva, which, as 
stated above, was 20 miles distant. Thompson and Hogg, who were in 
Khiva at this time, described it in their journal as : 

“ situated on a rising ground, it has three gates, and is defended by a strong wall of 
earth, very thick, and much higher than the houses: it has turrets at small 
distances, and a broad deep ditch full of water. The place is large, but the houses 
are low, the greatest part of them being built with mud ; the roofs are flat, and 
covered with earth. It commands a pleasing prospect of the adjacent plains, which, 
by the industry of the inhabitants, are rendered very fertile.” s 

When Ilbars had at length realised that he was in real danger, he had 
sent to AbuT-Khair Khan, the chief of the Little Horde of the Qazaqs, 
for aid. In response to this appeal, AbuT-Khair, with a mixed force of 
Qazaqs and Aral Ozbegs, marched to Khiva and entered the city. Having 
decided to send an envoy to Nadir, he selected for this purpose a Russian 
engineer officer named Muravin whom, it is said, he trusted more than 
any of his own chiefs . 3 Muravin, on being conducted into Nadir’s 
presence, informed him that the Qazaq chief offered to submit and that 
he wished to become Khan of Khiva. The Shah treated Muravin 
graciously and charged him to request AbuT-Khair to come in person 
to his court where he would be received and rewarded as a subject of the 
Empress of Russia, with whom he (Nadir) wished to remain on friendly 
terms. Muravin returned with this reassuring message to AbuT-Khair, 
but the latter, either because he feared to trust to Nadir’s word or because 
of a plot hatched by the people of Khiva, fled back to his horde on the 
Qazaq steppes . 4 

Despite the flight of AbuT-Khair, the Khivans, encouraged by their 
commander, ‘Abdu’r-Rahman Beg, the Qushbegi, determined to resist, 
and refused to parley when Nadir sent emissaries to them. The Shah’s 
forces thereupon invested the city, which they proceeded to bombard 
with eighteen cannon and sixteen mortars ; the Khivans, on the other 
hand, had only a few field pieces which they had seized some twenty-three 

1 K.N„ p. 557. 

* Hanway, Vol. I, p. 351. 

* See p. 194 of Ferry de Pigny’s French translation of A. Levshin’s Opisanie Kirgix-Kaxachikh, 

ili, Kirgiz-Kaisatskikh Ord i Stefiei. Muravin and two other Russian engineer officers 
named Gladishev and Nazimov had been sent by the Russian Government, at the request 
of Abu’l-Khair, to examine a site for a fortress at the mouth of the Sir Daria (Jaxartes) ; 
see Howorth's History of the Mongols, Vol. II, pp. 913 and 914. A map reproduced in 
Central Asia (Calcutta, 1873), Section I, Part VI, 'shows Mnravin’s route from Orak to Khiva 
and his survey of the eastern side of the Sea of Aral. 

‘Levshin, pp. 194 and 195. 


O 



194 


NADIR SHAH 


years before from the ill-fated Bekovich Cherkasski. After draining away 
the water from the moat surrounding the place, the Persians made several 
breaches in the walls by means of mines, and on the third day of the siege 
they prepared to launch a general assault. Realising that further resistance 
would be futile, the Khivans repented of their obduracy and surrendered. 1 

In the city of Khiva and elsewhere in Khwarizm Nadir discovered no 
less than 12,000 Khurasanis 2 imprisoned or enslaved ; he liberated all 
these people and ordered them to be provided with horses, baggage animals 
food and money, and assigned to them as their place of residence a new town 
situated at Chashma-yi-Khalanjan 3 (15 miles due south of Abivard) which 
he had ordered his Indian builders and craftsmen to erect on the model 
of Delhi, but on a much smaller scale 4 ; this town was afterwards re- 
named Khivaqabad. 5 It is said that he sent many of the people of Khiva 
as slaves to that place, so that they might experience the same treatment 
that they had meted out to their Persian captives. 6 

Nadir caused an inventory to be taken of everything in Khiva, and 
ordered all foreigners to be brought before him. Among these were 
Thompson and Hogg ; Han way 7 states that : 

“ Nadir Shah enquired of them what their business was. Being informed they 
were merchants, he told them they were at liberty to trade through all his do- 
minions ; and if any wrong was done them, and they were not redressed by his 
officers, they should apply to him ; they were then dismissed, and a passport was 
given them. These persons reported, that many, even of the meaner soldiers in 
the Persian army, had cloaths of rich silk, and plenty of Indian money .” 8 


Besides these two Englishmen, ten Russians were found, all of whom 
were slaves. Nadir liberated these men and gave each of them roubles 
and a horse to enable them to return to their own country \ they ultimately 
reached Samara in safety, under the leadership of a Russian Tatar named 
Zhanaiev. 9 


57* p - 207 i on t J he authorit y of Thompson and Hogg) . See also the T.N., p. 223, 
and the K.N., pp. 558 and 559. v 

T.N., p. 223. According to Thompson and Hogg, Nadir took away with him from Khiva 
nearly 20,000 Persians whom he had liberated. 

*0 establish ; it is given as above in my MS., as 
(Vd^XII p 2^ B ° mbay edltlon of ^ T - N ‘ CP- 22 3), and as “ Gelenjiah " by Jones 

Baycm, fol. 57 (b). This city was to be only a quarter the size of Delhi. 

+v^A^ S0;inet T e l^ T i^ 11 as Ppa-ahad (it is from a misreading of the form Khivaqabad 

Jieyookabad .**). E. O’Donovan, who visited the ruins of Kbiva- 

Hanwa Vol IV ? 2o descnptl0n of them m ^ book The Merv Oasis, V ol. II, pp. 78 and 80. 

Ibid. 7 ' ° ' ’ P * 2 ° 7 ' 

t v e Pers if 11 troops, when searched for valuables at the Chenab 
tsee^p. 156 above), had been allowed to retain a not inconsiderable amount of their 

authority states that Zhanaiev wrote a report on the siege of Khiva 
which is (or was) to be found in the archives of the Orenburg Frontier Commission. 



THE TURKISTAN EXPEDITION 


195 


Nadir spent a fortnight in Khiva, during which time he made arrange- 
ments for the government of Khwarizm after his departure. Having 
made a show of consulting the inaqs and chiefs of the country, he appointed 
as Khan of Khwarizm a descendant of Chingiz Khan named Tahir Beg, 
who had formerly resided in Herat and who had accompanied him on 
the Turkistan expedition. When some of the Ozbeg chiefs refused to 
acknowledge Tahir Beg as their ruler and attempted armed resistance, 
Nadir forced them to submit and swear fealty to their new ruler, after some 
blood had been shed. 1 He detached a force of only moderate strength 
to support Tahir Beg ; according to Mirza Mahdi, the reason why he 
did not leave a stronger force was that he considered that the people of 
Khwarizm would be unable to bear the burden of maintaining it. 2 

No further action in Khiva being necessary, the Shah and his army 
started on their homeward march on the 9th December, 1740, Tahir 
Beg and the inaqs and chiefs accompanying him as far as Fitnak. Nadir 
took with him, probably as a hostage, Abu’l-Ghazi Khan, Ilbars’s young 
son. 3 

Reaching Charjui on the 4th Shawwal (23rd December), Nadir took 
the desert route to Merv ; as water was extremely scarce along this route, 
he had previously made elaborate arrangements for adequate supplies 
to be available. 4 

At Merv, Nadir behaved with some severity. He dismissed the 
Governor, Muhammad Rida Khan Qiriqlu, and appointed in his stead the 
local Qajanleader, Shah Quli Khan ; several persons were put to death, 
one of these being Rahim Sultan, who had, it was alleged, encouraged 
Rida Quli Mirza to aim at the crown. 5 

Leaving Merv on the 16th Shawwal, 1153 (4th January, 1741), Nadir 
went to Abivard and thence to his birthplace at Dastgird, where he had 
his maulud-khana (literally, “ place-of-birth-house ”) erected ; ‘Abdu’l- 
Karim Kashmiri described this building as having a lofty dome surmounted 
by a golden sword.* From Dastgird the Shah went to Kalat, where he 
deposited his Indian treasures and had a tomb of black stone brnlt for him- 
self. Large blocks of marble were sent all the way from Maragha for this 
tomb. At his orders, much had been done to improve the interior of the 
great natural fortress, the water supply being increased and gardens being 

* K.N., pp. 560 and 561. Except on this occasion. Nadir did not behave 'with harshness dating 

his stay in Khiva. 

* T.N., p. 224. Thompson and Hogg stated in their journal that trade in Khiva was on a small 

scale ; the only local products were cotton, lamb skins of poor quality and a small quantity 
of raw silk. 

* K.N., p. 562. 

* Details of these arrangements are given in the Bayan, fol. 48 (a). 

* K.N., pp. 565 and 566. Rahim Sultan had also been one of those who had urged Rida Quli 

to murder ‘F&hmasp and his sons (see p. 177 above). 

* Bayan, fol. 57 (b). 'Abdul-Kaiim has confused Dastgird with Khivaqabad. 



NADIR SHAH 


196 

laid out. He then visited Khivaqabad, and gave large quantities of clothes, 
food and money to the newly arrived inhabitants. 1 From Khivaqabad 
Nadir returned to Abivard, and went on from there to Mashhad, where he 
arrived at the end of Shawwal (17th January, 1741). 

1 K . N ., pp. 569-571. 



CHAPTER XX 


The Daghistan Campaign 


For nearly two months Nadir remained in Mashhad, which he now 
unquestionably regarded as his capital 1 ; with the great extension of his 
empire eastwards, it was far more centrally situated than Isfahan, and it 
was, moreover, the chief city of his own province of Khurasan. Further- 
more, Mashhad was freer from Safavi associations than Isfahan was. For 
some time past, Nadir had been at pains to add to the importance of the 
city, and it was at this time in a very flourishing condition ; it has been 
estimated that it then contained 6o,ooo houses and between 200,000 
and 300,000 inhabitants. 8 George Thompson, who arrived there from 
Bukhara in September, 1741, stated 8 : 

“ in time of peace it is. a place of great trade, caravans are employed daily from 
Bokhara, Balkh, Biddukhshan, Kandahar, and India ; as well as from all parts of 
Persia. The Bazars, or market-places, are large and well built, filled with rich 
merchandize, and frequented by great numbers of people of different nations. There 
are computed about ninety caravanserais in this city, all in good repair. Great 
numbers of people were sent hither by Nadir Shah from all parts of Persia, as well as 
from the new-conquered dominions ; and all other means used to make it a flourish- 
ing city.” 


On this occasion Nadir, notwithstanding his anti-Shi‘a policy, did much 
to embellish the shrine of the Imam Rida ; amongst his gifts to it were 
a number of silken carpets and fourteen lamps of the purest gold ( tamam- 4 - 
‘iyar)* In the courtyard of the Safin he erected a fountain made of a 
solid block of white marble some three feet high and eighteen feet in 
circumference. According to a story in the Glory oj the Shia World? 
he arranged with a contractor for the block of stone to be brought from 
Herat in twelve days. The man succeeded in bringing the block in 
nine days and went to the Shah to announce the fact, hoping to be lavishly 


1 Although Mashhad was Nadir’s favourite city, he was not content even there ; he always 
chafed when compelled by the exigencies of state affairs to spend his tune in cities. As 
Muhammad Ma h dl ibn Muhammad Rida has well put it : ** In truth, the real capital of 
his empire was the seat of a saddle and the back of a horse ” see his Ni^f-i-Jahut fi 
T a’rikh-i-Isfahan, fol. 193 (a) ; the Persian wording is : . 

walakin dar haqiqat daru’s-saltanat-i-u khana-yi-xin w puskt-i-asp bud. 

•See Malcolm, Vol. II, p. 218 and G. Stratil-Sauer's MescMud : am Stadt boat m Vattrkmi 
Iran (Leipzig, 1937). P- 140. , . 

* Thompson’s Journal, in Hanway, V6L I, pp. 350 and 357. 

l K.N., p. 572. 

* Sykes (Sir P. M.) and Bahadur Ahmad Din Khan, London, 1910, p. 248. 

197 



NADIR SHAH 


198 

rewarded. Instead of recompensing the man, Nadir had him blinded 
on the grounds that he had not kept to the terms of the contract. * 

Although Nadir had given instructions for a magnificent tomb for 
himself to be built at Kalat, he had another erected at Mashhad, in the 
Khiaban-i-Bala or Upper Avenue. It is related that when this' second 
tomb was completed, some wit wrote on its wall : “ Thy note is in every 
key ; the world is full of thee, but thy proper place is empty.” These 
lines caused much amusement, but they were quickly erased lest the Shah 
should hear of them and order a massacre. 1 

By this time Timur’s tombstone and the gates of the Madrasa had arrived 
from Samarqand. Nadir had evidently intended to place them in this 
Mashhad mausoleum, but when he looked upon Timur’s tombstone he 
reflected awhile. Respect for his great predecessor and prototype gained 
the upper hand, and caused him to order Timur’s tombstone to be taken 
back to Samarqand and replaced over his grave ; the gates of the Madrasa 
were also sent back. 2 

It being his custom to make periodical examinations of the provincial 
accounts, Nadir went carefully through the Khurasan accounts during his 
stay in Mashhad. He evidently found much that was unsatisfactory, 
for he put a number of the treasury officials to death. 3 In Nadir’s time a 
revenue official’s post was no sinecure ; the taxes had to be rigorously 
collected and accounted for, and if any mistakes or faults were discovered, 
the severest penalties were inflicted upon the person responsible. 

When Nadir had completed his affairs in Mashhad, the urge to avenge 
his brother s death asserted itself. Entrusting the government of 
Khurasan to Nasrullah, the Shah, in company with Rida Quli and his 
third son, Imam Quli, left Mashhad on the 26th Dhu’l-Hijja (14th March, 
174 J )> an d celebrated Nau Ruz in the Khabushan district a week later., 
When the festivities were over, he and his army marched via Simalqan 
through the Giraili country, and then, in pouring rain, down the valley 
of the Gurgan. Here conditions were very similar to those previously 
experienced in the Kurram valley ; the Gurgan had to be crossed no less 
man twenty-three times, and, as before, there were many deaths from 
drowning. One day the river suddenly came down in flood and swept 
away several thousand men and baggage animals to their doom ; the waters 
rose until they were lapping against the side of the royal tent, which was 
pitched in the middle of the valley. Several tents on either side and 
numbers of servants and guards were carried away by the waters, but 
a j though his courtiers implored him to move to higher ground* 
refused to do so ; seated in solemn state upon the Takht-i-Nadiri, he 
calmly contemplated the menacing floods. As if awed by the imperial 

'Bay an, fol. 60(a) » K.N., p. 573. *JUd. 



THE DAGHISTAN CAMPAIGN 


199 

gaze, the waters rose no higher, and then slowly began to recede 1 ; Nadir 
had triumphed where Canute had failed. 

The march was resumed as soon as the floods had subsided sufficiently, 
and in due course Astarabad was reached, whence Nadir continued his 
journey through Ashraf, Sari, ‘Aliabad and Zirab towards the Gaduk 
Pass. On the 28th Safar, 1154 (15th May, 1741), he was proceeding along 
a narrow road through the thickly-wooded Savad Kuh district, accompanied 
by his harem and the quruqchis (harem guards) ; the troops, as was usual, 
were some distance away. Suddenly, a marksman hidden behind a tree 
some twenty paces from the road firei at the Shah as he passed ; the bullet, 
after grazing his hand and wounding him in the thumb, embedded 
itself in his horse’s neck. The animal fell to the ground, bringing the 
Shah down with it ; it is said that he, with great presence of mind, lay 
still on the ground, feigning death, and so escaped a second shot. For a 
moment all was confusion, but, when it was seen that he was not seriously 
hurt, the eunuchs and quruqchis , headed by Rida Quli Mirza (who had 
hastened up with the rearguard), made a prolonged search in the adjacent 
forests. No trace of the would-be assassin could, however, be found, 2 
and the march was resumed after a brief delay. 

Well would it have been for Persia and also for Nadir’s reputation 
if that bullet had found its intended mark. He was then at the culminating 
point of his career. Besides delivering his country from the yoke of the 
Afghans, he had humbled the Turks, caused the Russians to give up all 
the Persian territory remaining in their power after their voluntary evacu- 
ation of Gilan, and had subdued the Bakhtiaris, Abdalis and Ghalzais ; 
further, he had despoiled India, and conquered Turkistan, while his troops 
had seized part of Arabia, and his fleet, despite some vicissitudes, was be- 
coming supreme in the Persian Gulf. His ambition, however, was 
boundless, and each new triumph merely whetted his appetite for more. 
Hitherto, fortune had been, on the whole, most benign, but a change was 
about to set in, and Nadir, during the remainder of his reign, was destined 
to bring terrible troubles upon his people and ultimately disaster upon 
himself in his endeavours to achieve his aims. 

From the Gaduk pass Nadir proceeded to Tehran where he gave audience 
to Kalushkin, the Russian Resident, who had just received orders from 
St. Petersburg, to assure him of Russia’s friendly intentions. This action 
was necessary, because Khulafa, the Persian Ambassador at St. Petersburg, 

1 K.N., pp. 581 and 582 ; see also the T.N., pp. 226 and 227, and the Bayern, foL 61 (b). 

* T.N., p. 228. I have adopted Mirza Mahdrs version in preference to that of Mnframmad 
Kazim which, being based on hearsay only (as he was engaged on a minor campaign in 
the Qungrat country at the time), seems somewhat fanciful and is dearly incorrect in 
certain respects (e.g., the place where the attempt was made was, according to him, between 
Sari and Ashraf). ‘Abdu'l-Karim Kashmiri who, like Mirza Mahdi, was with Nadir's 
army, states (fol. 64 (a) ) that there were two would-be assas s i n s. 



200 


NADIR SHAH 


had, it appears, been sending to his court false reports that were very 
unfavourable to Russia. Kalushkin was also instructed to ascertain and 
report upon Nadir’s real intentions . 1 

Kalushkin reported to St. Petersburg that the Shah was very independent 
and that it was much more difficult to speak to him than it had formerly 
been. He said : 


" The new Nebuchadnezzar has been rendered quite mad by his triumphs. He 
says : ‘ It was not difficult for me to conquer all India. ... If I move with only one 
leg I take India ; if I move with both legs, I shall conquer the whole world ! * " 

Although Kalushkin found that Nadir was hostile to Turkey, he could 
not be sure that he would always remain friendly to Russia . 2 

After a brief halt in Tehran, Nadir went on to Qazvin. It is noteworthy 
that Rida Quli did not accompany his father beyond the former place. 
Mirza Madhi, writing very guardedly, merely said that the prince was 
ordered to remain in Tehran, “ of which province the revenues were to be 
his ” 3 ; this was evidently a euphemistic way of indicating that Rida Quli 
was in disgrace. It is not clear whether the Shah already suspected his 
son of having instigated, or been privy to, the attempt upon his life or 
whether he merely wished to punish him for his injudicious behaviour as 
Viceroy and on certain subsequent occasions. 

While Nadir was at Qazvin, Giv Amilakhor and another Georgian 
chief arrived with the news that the Lazgis had ravaged Kartli ; Nadir 
was greatly enraged and became, if possible, even more determined 
than ever to punish the Lazgis. He reappointed Giv Amilakhor Eristav 
of Ksan, and dispatched a strong force of Afghans and other troops to 
that district, where heavy fighting ensued . 4 

During his stay in Qazvin, Nadir was obliged (in fulfilment of a promise 
made at Delhi) to allow his capable Indian physician, ‘Alavi Khan, to leave 
his service, in order to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca ; ‘Abdu’l-Karim 
Kashmiri, the author of the Bayan , left the Shah’s service at the same time 
and accompanied his countryman. Deprived of ‘Alavi Khan’s medical 
skill and his restraining influence, Nadir’s physical condition and mental 
state soon noticeably deteriorated, and his ferocious outbursts of rage, 
which for some time had occurred only at rare intervals, became regrettably 
frequent.® 


1 Soloviev, Vol. XXI, pp. 84 and 85. 

% IUd. ) pp. 84-86. 

• T,N. p. 229. Bratishchev (op. cit p. 487) relates that Nadir treated his son kindly at Tehran 
and that he gave him no post and left him behind ostensibly because he wished to free 
mm from the toils of the forthcoming campaign. The Shah, however, ordered two of his 
most reliable eunuchs to remain with the prince, in order that they might, to outward 
seeming, look after his health, but in reality, spy upon him. 

‘ Paponrta Orbdian, H. de la G., Vol. II, Part II, pp. 5§-6r. 

'Bayan, foil. 66 (b) and 99 (b). 



THE DAGHISTAN CAMPAIGN 


201 


Fifteen days after his arrival in Qazvin, Nadir left for Daghistan via 
Qaraja Dagh, Barda'a and the district of Qabala. 

It will be recalled that when Nadir was at Nadirabad in May, 1740, 
he ordered the Abdali chief ‘Abdu’l-Ghani Khan and his own brother-in- 
law, Fath ‘Ali Khan, to go to Shirvan and to co-operate with the army 
commanders in Georgia and Adharbaijan in suppressing the Lazgis of 
Jar and Tala during the autumn and winter. 1 * For some unrecorded 
reason, ‘Abdu’l-Ghani Khan and the other commanders did not launch 
their attack on the Lazgis until March, 1741. The Abdali chief, a much 
more skilled and experienced commander than Ibrahim Khan, was more 
than a match for the Jar and Tala Lazgis ; having inflicted heavy losses 
upon them, he forced large numbers to submit. 

When Nadir reached Shirvan, many Lazgis came to offer their sub- 
mission. The salutary lesson just given to the tribesmen of Jar and 
Tala, followed by the advent of the Shah at the head of his army of some 
150,000 men, 3 doubtless induced these Lazgis to take this course. 

Nadir marched on northwards, and by the 1st Jumadi I (14th August) 
he had penetrated to the town or village of Ghazi Qumuq, in the heart 
of Daghistan. It was at this place that he received a report (which after- 
wards proved to be exaggerated) that a mixed force of Ozbegs, Aral Tatars 
and Qazaqs had invaded Khwarizm, captured Khiva and put Tahir Beg 
and his supporters to death. 3 Tahir Beg, however, was not killed until 
later. 4 

At the beginning of Rajab (12th September), Nadir left Ghazi Qumuq 
with the intention of reconnoitring the borders of Avaria. In view of the 
lateness of the season, it seems doubtful whether he seriously contem- 
plated forcing his way through the mountains at that time and occupying 
the whole country. However that may be, the severity of the weather, 
together with the obstinate resistance of the mountaineers, forced him 
to give up all idea of advancing further northwards and compelled him to 
turn eastwards and make for the Caspian coast. 5 Had Nadir begun 
his march on Avaria a month or so earlier, it is possible that he might have 
forced his way through the formidable mountain barrier to Khunzakh, 
the Nutzal’s capital ; by so doing, he would have had the key of Daghistan 


1 See p. 186 above, , , „ ,, ^ 

* Bazin, who was at Darband in October, 1741, when Nadir arrived there, gives the strength 

of his aim, then as 150,000. He states that it was composed mainly of I n d i ans^ Ozbeg 
Tatars and Afghans and that there were but few Persians. Bazin thus comments on the 
small number of Persians : " il (i.e.> Nadir) s9avoit que les peuples ^piturdlement attaches 
k leurs Souverains, ne suivent qu*k regret un Usurpateur, et qu’ils out pour le trahir 
Texemple que lui-m&ne leur a donnd.” (See Lettr&s Edifiantes, VoL IV, p. 288). 

* T.N., p. 229. 

4 See p. 2x1 below, , . . 

* X.N., p. 230, Bratishchev, p. 489. Butkov does not mention this attempt to reach the Avar 

country in 1741. 



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THE DAGHISTAN CAMPAIGN 


203 


in his hands. With the Shamkhal Khass Fulad, Surkhai, and the Usmi 
and other chiefs all in chastened mood, and the strength of his army 1 
still unimpaired by the hardships and losses of a protracted campaign in 
exceedingly difficult country, he would have stood a much better chance 
of success than he did in the following year. The consequences of an 
early settlement of the Daghistan problem might well have been of vital 
importance. With his military reputation unblemished and his army 
intact and flushed with successes in India, Turkistan and Daghistan, 
Nadir would have proved an even more formidable opponent to the Turks 
than he did in 1743. It is quite possible that, if he had suddenly attacked 
Russia at this stage, he might have succeeded in wresting Kizliar and Astra- 
khan from her 1 ; Russia, being taken by surprise, with many of her troops, 
withdrawn from the southern frontiers in order to strengthen her forces 
then engaged in the war with Sweden, might well have had serious difficulty- 
in parrying a sudden thrust by him. He, as will be seen below, afterwards 
seriously contemplated an attack on his northern neighbour, but by that 
time the opportunity of doing so with a reasonable chance of success had 

Nadir was at Chiragh, on his way back to the Caspian coast, 
he heard that the Qaraqaitaq tribesmen had attacked some of his troops, 
in the thick forest country, killing many of them and capturing part 
of their baggage. 2 The bold Tatars also hovered around his own force, 
skirmishing and attacking the convoys ; one night they even raided 
Nadir’s own quarters and carried off some of his women. 3 His rage at 
this incident was such that he had a number of his own officers and men 
put to death 4 ; he then swore that he would not quit Daghistan until 
all the rebels had been forced to submit. 5 * 

Nadir reached Darband on the 5th Sha'ban (16th October) ; leaving 
his baggage in the town, he hastened off to attack theQaraqaitaq tribesmen. 
In order to counteract the Lazgi raids, he had forts built throughout the 
Shamkhal’s territory,' stationed from two to three farsakhs apart.® On the 
10th Ramadan (19th November) he returned from this expedition, having 
apparently failed to achieve his object. 7 As there was plenty of water 

1 Kalushkin had already made some disquieting reports to St. Petersburg regarding Nadir’s. 

attitude towards Russia ; in this connection, see p. 200 above. 

1 T.N., p. 230. Bazin (p. 290) states that the Lazgis had at first only thought of su bmissio n ; 
when, however, they saw that, after submitting, their folk were exiled to Khurasan and 
were stripped of all their possessions, and that their families were ruthlessly slaughtered 
by Nadir if his suspicions were aroused, they resisted him with the courage of despair. 
•Hanway, Vol. TV, p. 224. 

* Bazin, p. 290. 

* T.N., p. 230 
'Ibid. 

* As Mirza Mahdi is silent as to the result, one is perhaps justified in inferring that it was.. 

unfavourable. 


passed. 

When 



204 


NADIR SHAH 


and forage available at Dasht-i-Kafari, three farsakhs north-west of Dar- 
band, the Shah established his winter quarters there. 1 

The provisioning of so large an army in a country that consisted, for 
the most part, of forests and mountain crags presented serious difficulties. 
Little food was procurable in the neighbouring province of Shirvan, 
because of the repeated ravaging to which it had been subjected, and Kartli 2 
and Kakheti were in a similar state. The only solution was to procure 
supplies by sea. Having already a fleet on the Persian Gulf, Nadir 
determined to have one on the Caspian as well ; the great difficulty, of 
course, was to obtain the vessels. There were already some Persian 
vessels in service, but these were small and of primitive design and build. 8 
Furthermore, the Persians were almost entirely unskilled in navigation. 
Nadir is said to have sent to Surat for shipbuilders and sailors, in order to 
remedy this deficiency. 4 

Until he could get ships of his own, Nadir had, therefore, to depend 
almost entirely on Russian traders for his sea-borne supplies ; many of 
these traders made vast profits.® When Kalushkin informed the Shah 
of the accession of Elizabeth Petrovna, after the coup d'etat of the 6th 
December, 1741, he replied that he was very glad to hear the news, 
since the throne of Russia belonged to her by right, as the daughter of 
Peter the Great. Nadir then gave Kalushkin a coat of honour and a 
thousand roubles, and requested him to arrange for the loan of ten Russian 
vessels, some of which would be used in his operations against the 
Daghistan rebels and some for the transport of supplies from Astrakhan. 
Kalushkin, in transmitting this request, warned his Government that, if 
Nadir were lent these vessels, he would never return them, as he was most 
anxious to have a fleet of his own. In consequence of Kalushkin’s warning, 
the Government refused to accede to Nadir’s request.® However, as 


1 T.N., p. 230, Butkov, Vol. I, p. 212. 

‘Papouna Orbelian states that so heavy a tax was levied on Kartli in 1741 that many persons 
fled to Turkey, while others wilfully devastated their own lands. H. de la G., Vol. II, Part 
H, pp. 57 and 58.) 

‘Captain Woodroofe’s Journal, in Hanway, Vol. I, p. 149. Such vessels as the Persians 
possessed had been built, for the most part, by Russian deserters or renegades. John Bell 
of Antennony, who had visited Persia a quarter of a century earlier, stated that : " The 
navigation of the Caspian belongs solely to the Russians, the Persian and other borderers 
having nothing but fishing boats " (Travels from St, Petersburg in Russia to Diverse Parts 
of Asia, London, 1764, p. 47). 

* See Hanway 's hitherto unpublished letter from Astrakhan to his principals, dated the 7th /18th. 

November, 1744, and the Memorial from the Russia Company to Lord Carteret, dated 
the 13th /24th January, 1744 (S.P., 91, Vol. XXXVI). In the Memorial it is stated that 
Nadir took this action "long before Mr. Elton ever was in Persia’’ (i.e., before, presumably, 
Elton arrived in Persia for the second time, in June, 1742). 

• Hanway appears to be in error in asserting (Vol. TV, p. 225) that these Russian merchants 

were not allowed by law to sell supplies to the Shah, as Butkov (Vol. I, pp. 212 and 510) 
rays that the Russian Government only permitted merchants of Russian nationality to 
dispatch food supplies to the Persian ports on the Caspian. 

•Soloviev, Vol. XXI, p. 200. 



THE DAGHISTAN CAMPAIGN 205 

will be seen below, he was able later to obtain the nucleus of his Caspian 
fleet from an unexpected quarter. 

The festival of Nau Ruz was celebrated at the camp in the customary 
fashion. 

According to Mirza Mahdi, Nadir, at this time, fully intended to abdi- 
cate in favour of one of his sons and to retire to Kalat, as soon as he had 
come to a final settlement with Turkey. 1 

Before opening his campaign in the spring of 1742, Nadir sent his 
agents northwards to Enderi and Kostek, in the country of the Qumiqs, 
to purchase supplies and horses, but these tribespeople angered the Shah 
by charging exorbitant prices, and by taking part in robberies, as well as 
helping the Lazgis. 2 * 

At the end of May, 1 742, Nadir marched against the rebels of Tabar- 

saran, whom he attacked in considerable force on three occasions, but 

in each case he was unsuccessful, and on the last occasion he barely escaped 

with his life.® Surkhai and the Shamkhal Khass Fulad were with the Shah 

* * 

most of the time, and “ in the performance of their service made no 
fault ” 4 * ; the Usmi Ahmad Khan, on the other hand, renounced his 
allegiance, and retreated to his strong castle of Quraish. 

It was in July, 1742, that the connection began between Captain Elton 
and the Persian Government which was destined to have such unfortunate 
consequences for the Russia Company and to end in disaster and death 
for Elton himself. 

At the end of June in that year the vessel which Elton had just built 
at Kazan for the conveyance of the British merchants’ goods between 
Astrakhan and the Persian ports on the Caspian arrived at Enzeli on her 
maiden voyage. 6 She carried a composite crew of Russian and British 
seamen and was commanded by Captain Woodroofe ; Captain Elton 
was also on board. When her cargo of English goods had been dis- 
charged at Enzeli, for disposal in Persia, the vessel was taken into the 
service of the Persian Government, and was used on two occasions in 
1742 for the conveyance of rice to Darband ; the troubles that arose with 
the Russians in consequence of these voyages and of Elton’s other actions 
will be described in Appendix I. By utilising this British vessel for the 
transport of rice from Persia, Nadir was able, to some extent, to break 
through the monopolistic ring formed by the Russian traders for the 
conveyance of foodstuffs by sea to his forces in Daghistan ; this was 

1 T.N., p. 234. It is difficult to say whether Nadir seriously intended to do this. 

* Butkov, Vol. I, p. 212. 

• Ibid., p. 213. See also Soloviev, Vol. XXI, p. 200. 

*T.N p. 235. 

*1116 circumstances under which the trade connection between Great Britain and Persia via 

Russia was established are described in Appendix I. 



20 6 


NADIR SHAH 


undoubtedly the initial reason for the development of the crisis between 
the Russian Government and the Russia Company, and was > the cause of 
Elton and Woodroofe meeting with such hostility from Russian officials 
at Resht and Darband in 1742. 

In consequence of repeated attacks by the Daghistanis, Nadir, in 
1742, made an entrenched camp in the north of Tabarsaran, near 
Gubden, where, it is said, he intended to found a town. 1 It was only 
with the greatest difficulty that provisions could be brought to this camp ; 
besides being short of food, the Persian troops and convoys were subjected 
to frequent attacks by the Lazgis, Qaraqaitaqs and other hostile tribesmen. 
In consequence of the sufferings of his men and their heavy losses through 
casualties and wastage, Nadir cynically called his new camp “ Iran Kharab ” 
or “ ruined Persia,” 2 The great heat and the badness of the water there 
caused some form of plague to break out, which particularly affected the 
Afghan troops ; so serious did this outbreak become that Nadir transferred 
the sufferers to another camp some thirty miles to the north, near Buinaq, 
and forbade anyone to mention the epidemic. 8 

Kalushkin had repeatedly endeavoured to convince the Shah that 
the Daghistan campaign would have evil consequences for Persia, 4 but 
he paid no heed to these words. Being apprehensive lest he should 
violate Russian territory, Kalushkin urged his Government to reinforce 
its troops on the frontier ; the Russian Government did as he recom- 
mended, thereby, as will be seen below, causing Nadir to modify 
his aims. Soon after making this recommendation, Kalushkin died ; 
he was succeeded as Resident by his interpreter, Vasili Bratishchev. 5 

By degrees the Persian troops obtained the ascendency over the tribes- 
men in Tabarsaran, and Nadir therefore decided to make another attempt 
to conquer Avaria and also to punish the Qumiqs, although the latter 
step would involve crossing the Russian frontier. Hearing that a strong 
force of Russians had reached Kizliar, he abandoned his idea of attacking 
the Qumiqs, but he persisted in his design against the Avars.® 

After an initial defeat, the Persians captured Aq Qusha in August, 
1742, and advanced on Avaria and the towns of Kafir Qumuq and 
Ghazanish. 7 An advance-guard 6,000 strong was ambushed by the 
Lazgis in a defile, and was compelled to retreat after sustaining heavy loss. 

1 Baikov, Vol. I, p. 213. 

*IUd., Vd. I, p. 213, Lerch, in BGscMng’s Magazin Vol. X, p. 399. 

*Ibid., Vol. I, p. 213 and 214. 

* Hanwa.y quotes the folio-wing Persian proverb : “If any Persian king is a fool, let him march 
against the Lesgees" (Vol. IV, p. 223). 

1 Sdoviev, Vd. XXI, p. 201. 

' Butikov, Vol. I, p. 220. Bratishchev reported that Nadir was less truculent after he had heard 
of the arrival of Russian reinforcements on the frontier (see Soloviev, Vol. XXI, p. 201). 

' Butkov, VoL I, p. 215. For an explanation of how Kafir Qumuq received its opprobrious 
name, see Barthold's artide on Daghistan in E.I., Vol. I, p. 890. 



THE DAGHISTAN CAMPAIGN 


207 


The Shah, in a paroxysm of rage, gave orders for several of the officers of 
the defeated force to be put to death. In September, he himself led the 
advance, and employed no less than 3,000 men with axes to clear a track 
through the jungle. 1 At one village, which was, apparently, near the 
Avar-Qoisu, the Persians met with a severe check, and were compelled to 
retreat. 2 Avaria continued un conquered, and, consequently, the key to 
Daghistan remained beyond Nadir’s reach. It was, apparently, at this 
juncture that another Persian force climbed the mountain on which the 
Usmi’s stronghold of Quraish was situated, and in three days carried the 
fortress by assault. Ahmad Khan, however, escaped before his stronghold 
fell, and fled to Avaria. 3 The Qaraqaitaq tribe, having lost their main 
fortress and being deprived of their leader, submitted to the Persians. 4 

In October, Nadir retreated from the borders of Avaria, and marched 
via Tarkhu and Bashli to Iran Kharab, where he made his winter quarters. 

It was, apparently, at Iran Kharab 6 that an event took place in the 
autumn of 1742 which was destined to cast a gloom over the last few 
years of Nadir’s life ; this event was the blinding of Rida Quli Mtrza 
because of his alleged instigation of the attempt upon his father’s life in 
Mazandaran in the previous year. 

A number of writers, both contemporary and of later date, have en- 
deavoured to set out the history of this tragic affair ; while some of these 
authorities maintain that the prince was innocent, others assert that he 
was guilty, and they also differ in other, but less essential, respects. In 
the account given below, the data have been taken as far as possible from 
those sources which seemed most worthy of credence. 

For some time after the attempt was made, all efforts to track down the 
would-be assassin and bring him to justice were unsuccessful, but the 
man was at length found near Oba, in the province of Herat. His name 
was Nik Qadam, and he had been a guard in the service of Dilavar Khan 
of Tayimani.® After his arrest, he was sent in custody to Daghistan 
and reached the royal camp some time during the summer of 1742. 
When he was brought before Nadir, the latter examined him in private ; 
according to ‘Abdu’l-Karim Bukhari, the man, when pressed by the Shah 
to disclose the identity of the person who had induced him to fire the shot, 
boldly replied that no one had done so, and said that he had fired because 

1 Butkov, Vol. I, p. 215. 

* This may possibly have been the village of Arakani where, Mr. J. F. Baddeley has informed 

me, there is a local tradition that Nadir was never able to advance beyond that point, 
owing to the brave resistance of the inhabitants. 

*T.N., p. 235 
-* Ibid. 

* See Bazin, p. 292, and Lerch’s Nachricht (in Bflsching’s Magarin, Vol. X, p. 400). According 

to Bratishchev's Nachricht , p. 495, however, the blinding was carried out at 
Bashli. 

" T.N . , p. 231. 



NADIR SHAH 


208 

he wished to rid the world of a tyrant. According to Muhammad Kazim, 
however, Nadir, at the beginning of the private interview, promised* the 
man his life if he would state who had prompted him to fire ; Nik Qadam 
thereupon named 'Rida Quli. He had, he explained, been one of the 
prince’s bodyguard and his prowess as a marksman had often attracted 
Rida Quli’s notice ; one day, when the prince was in the company of 
Muhammad Husain Khan Qajar and Rahim Sultan of Merv, he asked 
Nik Qadam whether he would attempt to shoot the Shah. Nik Qadam 
agreed to do so, and went specially to Herat for that purpose in June, 

1 740, but no opportunity of doing the deed arose. After the disbandment 
of Rida Quli’s bodyguard at Qara Tappa, he again urged Nik Qadam 
to kill his father, and the man lay in wait repeatedly, but it was not until 
the Shah was marching from Sari to Ashraf that he was able to fire ; his 
shot, however, missed its mark. The prince’s enemies had already 
repeatedly alleged that he had been responsible for the deed, and these 
allegations had, as had been intended, come to Nadir’s ears ; he was, 
as was natural, much upset at hearing that these allegations were (appar- 
ently) confirmed, and he determined to send for Rida Quli and tax him 
with the crime. As for Nik Qadam, he kept his promise that the man’s 
life should be spared, but he deprived him of his sight. 1 

The above account sounds plausible, but one must bear in mind that 
Muhammad Kazim was in Turkistan at the time, and that he, therefore, 
had no first-hand knowledge of the matter. He was incorrect (as has 
already been pointed out) in stating that the attempt on Nadir’s life was 
made between Sari and Ashraf, and he does not explain how he was able 
to reproduce, as he purports to do, the actual conversation between Nadir 
and Nik Qadam at the private interview. 2 He was likewise wrong in 
stating that Nik Qadam had been in Rida Quli’s service. 

It is, of course, possible that Nik Qadam did, in fact, accuse the prince, 
but it by no means follows that, if he did so, he was speaking the truth. 
In the chapter of the Ta’rikh-i-Nadiri relating to events in Daghistan 
between 1741 and 1743, Mirza Mahdi makes no mention of the blinding 
of the prince, but, in the concluding portion of his book, which he wrote 
after Nadir’s death, when he no longer had any motive for withholding or 
distorting the truth, he clearly stated that the Shah’s mind had been 
poisoned against his son by the “ evil whisperings and imputations ” 
(wasawis wa tawahhumat) of malicious persons 8 ; earlier in his book he 

x K . N ., pp. 583-588. 

1 recor< ^ °* Nadir’s confidential advice to Rida Quli at Bahar Sufla (see p. 168 above). 

■* * *’ P; 263.^ Malcolm (V ol. II, p. 97) stated that Nadir “ is believed to have had no evidence 
01 his son s guilt but his own suspicions ” ; in a footnote on the same page he said : “ I 
have conversed with the descendants of several of Nadir’s chief omrahs (i.e., umara ) , who 
an concurred in the truth of Mirza Mahdi’s statement of this fact.” 



THE DAGHISTAN CAMPAIGN 


209 

had stated that the instigator of the attempt was Aqa Mirza, a son of 
Dilavar Khan, of Tayimani. 1 Pfcre Bazin 2 and Dr. Lerch,® both of 
whom should have been well informed and who could have had no reason 
to misrepresent what had occurred, firmly believed in the prince’s innocence. 

When Nadir at length came to the conclusion that Rida Quli was guilty, 
he summoned him from Tehran and accused him of the crime. The 
prince repeatedly denied that he was guilty, but his pleas were disregarded. 
After reflecting for some time and consulting his advisers, Nadir decided 
to punish his son by blinding him. The sentence was carried out in his 
presence and of that of a number of his nobles, many of whom he after- 
wards put to death because they had not offered to undergo the punishment 
in place of the prince. 4 Nadir is said to have been so overcome with grief 
after this terrible scene that he retired to his tent and did not reappear 
for three days. Malcolm, quoting from some unspecified MS., states 
that Nadir, after his son had been blinded, informed him that his crimes 
had brought this terrible punishment upon him. The prince bitterly 
retorted : “It is not my eyes that you have put out, but those of Persia.”® 
To sum up, one is, it would seem, justified in believing that Rida Quli 
was, in reality, innocent ; his extremely foolish behaviour, however, 
had undoubtedly lent some colour to the insinuations and allegations against 
him, and it was his misfortune that his trial (if so it may be termed) took 
place at a time when Nadir was greatly embittered by reason of his reverses 
at the hands of the Lazgis, and when there was no ‘Alavi Khan at hand to 
exert a restraining influence. Had Nik Qadam been caught red-handed 
immediately after he had fired at Nadir, it is possible that the prince might 
have escaped punishment and that he might not even have been accused 
at all. 8 

When Rida Quli had sufficiently recovered, he was, at his own request, 
sent to Mashhad. 

In November, 1742, Nadir set out for the north, with the intention, 
1 T.N., p. 230. 

* Op. cit., p. 292 ; Bazin, alter asserting Ms belief in Rida Quli's innocence, said : "Mais an 

Tribunal, d’un Usnrpateur Ie soupfon vaut la preuve." 

* Op. cit., p. 400. Hanway (Vol. IV, p. 210), Bratsshchev (pp. 477 and 478}, ‘Abda’l-Karim 

Bukhari (p. 49) and (as seen above) Muhammad Kapim believed that the prince was guilty. 
« Bazin, p. 292. According to Muhammad Kazira (K.N., p. 611), Nadir, after secluding himself 
for two days, mounted his throne, summoned his leaders and violently upbraided them 
for not having endeavoured to intercede on behalf of his son. *' There is not," he cried, 
" any (good) quality or any feeling of religion or nobility in the tribe of the Persians. . . . 
When I was overcome with anger, I ordered three or four of you to be put to death, but 
the shame will always remain.’’ 

‘Malcolm, Vol. II, p. 97, and the Motlo'u'sh-Shams, Vd. II, p. 17. Muhammad Kasim has 
a slightly different version : some days after the blinding had been carried out, Nadir 
visited his son. Both wept ; then Rida Quli said : “ Although thou hast removed my 
eyes from their sockets, be not heedless of the fact that thou hast plucked out thy own 
eyes and ruined thy career.” 

* It is stated in the Bayan (foL 99 (b) ) that Nadir was perfectly calm after the attempt on his 

life, and that he resolved to punish no one until after a full investigation had been made. 

P 



210 


NADIR SHAH 


apparently, of crossing the frozen Terek and marching on Kizliar, to which 
place he laid claim on the grounds that it had formerly belonged to Persia. 1 
In taking this decision, he was influenced by messages which he had jusi 
received from the ruler of the Chechens, stating that he wished to becom< 
a Persian subject and offering to show him routes by which he coulc 
invade Russia. He also, it appears, had the design of forcing his wat 
through to the Crimea 2 via Kabarda and Kuban. * 

It seemed for a time as if war between Persia and Russia was inevitable. 5 
Bratishchev, in reporting to St. Petersburg the warlike intentions of the 
Shah, said that Elton had offered to lend his vessel to him in the even 
of war breaking out. 4 

Having for some time past been apprehensive of a hostile move b) 
Nadir, Russia had considerably strengthened her troops on the southerr 
frontier. Furthermore, since Turkey and Persia wished to attack eacl 
other by marching through the southern Caucasus, Russia took specia 
measures to cultivate the friendship of the people of Kabarda. 6 However, 
the menacing attitude of Turkey towards Persia prevented the lattei 
from attacking Russia. The Shah had already received several reports 
of the movement of large Turkish forces towards the Persian frontier, 
and the arrival of a Turkish embassy at the Persian camp early in 1743! 
with a message from the Sultan, in which he categorically refused to recog- 
nise the Ja'fari sect or to agree to the erection of the additional columr 
or pillar in the Ka ba, caused him to renounce his idea of invading Russk 
and to decide on war with Turkey instead. 6 On the 15th DhuT-Hijja. 


1 Butkov, Vol. I, p. 220. According to a letter from St. Petersburg, dated the 2nd February 
1 743 , ymch was published in the London paper, the Daily Post, on the 21st of that month, 
news had been received at the former capital that Colonel Selenski, the Commandant oi 
°4 bought in irons to Moscow because he had “ given assis- 

° £ + Dagb , estan against Schach Nadir, which was the Occasion of thal 
Monarch s advancing towards oar Frontiers, and threatening to break with this Court 
unless satisfaction was given to him on that Head.” 

* Bu ?„° 7 u Vd r p * 2 4°’i Sa ^ S ***** Nadir ordered the route from Enderi to the Cherkass country 

and the Crimea to he surveyed. 

* In i^/^ er » t 'n,i e ^* atC k A f 2 1 ® I?**/ 26 th February, 1743, to Sir Cyril Wich, it is stated 
Bw.f f flatter themselves there must be a wax with Persia (i.e., between 
^ U re J 01c ® ia it. . They have a notion that the present Sophy 
’FrrmT#«f ww tJP to the Hussiaa Dominions and did formerly demand the present 
Princess m Marriage, for himself or Son, but being refused and so dis- 
apromted of c^n«_to the Succession that way. He win try to obtain his end by conquest " 

A*! ^not^EliS^Ue Not??! Ja p Pr ° P ° Sal ° f t0 EmpreS3 

4 Sd D^bl K^ eit3le S ' Woodroo:fe aor Hanway mentions this offer, but it is 
r- e k 661 ! Elton at that time (December, 1742 /January, 1743) 

& P^T tmmt *° which Woodioofe and he had been 

* particulars of these measures, see But ko v, Vol. I p. 224. 

1Bto P iSi fa«ditoS* S T^S 8i S. , r t ^ 11 ? CSime 48 * relief to the Russian Court. On 

- C ' reported t0 W^tehan : “ Proof of the Russian 

£££»3SS83Ky *— * AStokh “ 


are 



THE DAGHISTAN CAMPAIGN 


ui 


1 1 55 ( ioth February, 1 743), he set out on his southward march, 1 * He left 
the Abdali chief ‘Abdu’l-Ghani in command of the Darband garrison.* 

The brave mountaineers of Daghistan, aided by their forests and 
mountain ranges, had proved more than a match for the conqueror and 
his veterans. All that he had been able to do was to subdue the lowlands 
of Daghistan and capture a few isolated fortresses such as Quraish. The 
cost to Nadir in terms of man-power, as well as in material resources, 
was tremendous, and his prestige naturally suffered greatly from his failure 
to achieve any real success. 

In blizzards and extreme cold, the Persian host dragged its way south- 
wards towards the Mughan steppes. The troops suffered terribly from 
hunger as well as from cold, and were even reduced to the extremity of 
eating pies made of human flesh. So many men and animals died on 
the road from the Samur to Shabaran that it was strewn with bodies and 
carcasses. 3 The difficulties encountered and the hardships suffered on 
this terrible march are evidenced by the fact that it took no less than forty 
days for the army to go from Darband to the Kura. 4 

Meanwhile, serious trouble had occurred in Khwarizm, where a certain 
Nur ‘Ali Khan, having quarrelled with Tahir Beg, had sought refuge with 
the Aral Turkomans and had induced them to attack his enemy. Assisted 
by these Turkomans and by his partisans in Khwarizm, Nur ‘Ali, after 
capturing Yengi (New) Urgench and the city of Khiva, besieged 
Tahir Beg in the citadel of the latter place. Tahir Beg sent urgent appeals 
for help to Nasrullah at Mashhad, but the prince was unable to come to his 
assistance. After a siege of several weeks, Tahir Beg was forced to sur- 
render, and was then put to death by Nur ‘Ali in revenge for Ilbars’s 
execution. Nur ‘Ali Beg thereupon mounted the throne of Khwarizm. 5 
Thus it was that in both the extreme north-west and extreme north-east 
of his empire Nadir had suffered a reverse, but his lack of success was 
more conspicuous in Daghistan and his far heavier losses there were much 
more damaging to his reputation than were the defeat and death of Tahir 

1 T.N., p. 236. 

* Butkov, Vol. I, p. 226. 

'Ibid. p. 227. 

* T.N., p. 237. 

1 K.N., pp. 625-628. Owing to a severe famine which broke out six months later, Nur 'Ali 
was deserted by his Turkoman allies and was then expelled from Khiva by the loyalist 
section of the community. Nasrullah, who had in the meantime proceeded to Merv, marched 
from there to Khiva and, acting on Nadir’s orders, placed Ilbars’s son Abn’I-Ghaxi, then 
a youth of fourteen, on the throne, and made an inaq named Irtaq Inaq his chief minister. 




CHAPTER XXI 


Operations in the Persian Gulf, 1740-1747, 
and the Second ‘Oman Expedition 

In Chapter XVIII the history of the Persian operations in the Persian 
Gulf and in ‘Oman was given up to the beginning of May, 1740, when the 
fleet had reassembled off Gombroon after the abortive Makran expedition* 

At this time the Arab seamen were in a very discontented state, as their 
pay had once more fallen into arrears and they were not receiving sufficient 
rations. Matters came to a head early in September, 1 740, when a general 
mutiny broke out at Laft, where the fleet then was ; the mutineers killed 
the Admiral, Mir ‘Ali Khan, and all the other Persians who offered re- 
sistance, and then removed the entire fleet to Khor Fakkan 1 ; some of the 
vessels were afterwards taken to the island of Qais. The Gombroon 
Agent thus commented on this mutiny : 

" . . . 11111635 the Arabs are brought back to Obedience We believe it has entirely 
Frustrated his Majesties great Scheme of a Fleet, since these are the People who could 
only have been brought to accomplish his pinpose, the Persians being entirely Averse 
to, as well as Ignorant of. Sea Affairs which indeed the Scituation and Nature of their 
Country, not productive of any one Requisite for the Purpose, seems to disallow. . . 2 

A few days later the new Admiral, Mahmud Taqi Khan by name, 
arrived at Gombroon. After requesting the Agent to arrange for the sale 
of a large ship, the Admiral wrote to the ringleader of the mutineers, 
urging him and his associates to submit to the East India Company ; 
the Agent also wrote to the same effect, and the trankey conveying these 
letters sailed under English colours. 8 

Without waiting for a reply, the Admiral forced the Dutch to lend 
him two of their ships which were then anchored off Gombroon. The 
Admiral boarded one of these ships and sailed off, in company with the 
other, as well as some smaller vessels, to attack the Arabs. An engagement 
took place between this fleet and two large Arab ships, a brigantine and a 
number of trankeys. After both sides had fired some shots, the Arabs 
attempted to board one of the Dutch ships, but they were beaten off ; the. 

Diary> 26th Au Sn st / 6tl1 September, 1740 ; Otter, Vol. II, p. 130. 

* Wd. t r4th/25th. September, 1740. 



PERSIAN GULF OPERATIONS, 1740-1747 213 

other Dutch ship, with the Admiral on board, kept at a distance and ex- 
changed fire with the Arabs at long range. When night fell both the 
Dutch ships and the smaller craft sailed away, pursued by the Arabs. 1 
Neither the Admiral nor the Dutch had any reason to be proud of the part 
they had played in this engagement, but there was more excuse for the 
Admiral than there was for the Dutch, for he had never been at sea before. 

Later in the month the Admiral quarrelled with the Dutch, and placed 
armed guards on their ships. Meanwhile, the Huwala Arabs and the 
mutineers roved and raided where they pleased in the Gulf ; in November, 
they appeared off Cong, and in the following month they made a further 
attempt to take Bahrain. 

When Nadir heard of the mutiny and the Huwala revolt, he sent orders 
for 6,000 men to be collected ana 1 5,000 tomans to be raised, and en- 
deavoured to purchase more vessels at Surat ; he is said to have ordered 
no less than eleven ships from there in 1741 s ; one of these new ships 
arrived from Surat in May, 1741. Meanwhile, the Arabs had, as usual, 
fallen out amongst themselves, and some of them had opened negotiations 
with the Government authorities. There was thus a definite improvement 
in the situation in the Gulf. 

In the summer of 1741, Nadir evolved and speedily sought to put into 
execution a new project, namely, the building of his own warships at 
Bushire. In the absence of definite information, one can only conjecture 
what Nadirs reasons were for taking this decision. It is probable that 
his primary aim was to make Persia self-sufficing as regards shipbuilding ; 
his love of independence and absolute authority must have rendered it 
irksome to him to be beholden to the East India Company, which, besides 
expecting cash for each vessel supplied, generally demanded, as an addi- 
tional quid pro quo , the grant of some new privilege or the restoration of 
some former one. In the second place, he may have imagined that, by 
using his own labour and materials, he would be able to obtain his ships 
at a much lower cost than he could by purchase ; Surat ships, as has already 
been stated, were very expensive.* Unfortunately for himself, Nadir, 
when formulating this scheme, did not take into account the enormous 
difficulties that would be met with as soon as endeavours were made to 
put it into practice. 

1 An English gunner who was on board a Persian ketch witnessed this engagement (though 
his vessel does not appear to have taken part in the fighting) ; on his return to Gombroon, 
he made a full report to the Agent of what had occurred (see SdLdanha's Selections from 
State Papers, p. 55 and the Gombroon Diary, 12th /23rd October, 1740. 

1 See H. Dodwell’s reference, in A Calendar of the Madras Records, 1740-1744 (Madras, 1917), 
p. 235, to a letter from Stephen Law, at Bombay, to Fort St. George, dated 9th Dec., 1741. 
* Furthermore, it is possible that Nadir may have felt that there would be more control over 
the disbursement of public funds at Bushire than at Surat ; shortly before this time, accord- 
ing to Muhammad Kazim (K.N., p. 370), the Persian agents at Surat had misappropriated 
8,000 tomans that had been remitted there for the purchase of a ship. 



NADIR SHAH 


214 

One of the most formidable obstacles to be overcome was the complete 
lack of suitable timber on the Gulf coast ; Nadir, in characteristic fashion 
sought to solve this problem by having his timber cut in the Mazandaran 
forests and sending it right across the country to Bushire, a distance of 
over 600 miles. Early in September, 1741, it was reported that he had 
ordered carts to be made for the transport of this timber, 1 but in actual 
practice it had to be carried on men’s shoulders for the greater part of the 
way, owing to the lack of roads and the mountainous country that had 
to be traversed ; the transport of timber in this fashion caused as much 
suffering to Nadir’s unfortunate subjects as did the conveyance of the huge 
blocks of marble from Maragha to Mashhad and Kalat. After receiving 
a request from Nadir for the loan of carpenters and the supply of stores 
and materials, the Gombroon Agent made the following comment upon 
the Shah’s ambitious project : 

" But what probability there is of such mighty Affairs being accomplished may in 
part be guessed by the means they are obliged to use for procuring Timber Bringing it 
near Sixty Days on Men’s Shoulders from Mazanderoon, and They must come at 
every other material with equal difficulty.” 2 

Time was to prove the wisdom of these words. 

It was stated in the Gombroon Diary on the 27th November/8th 
December, 1741, that Nadir had ordered several ships to be built at 
Bushire : 


. . of one hundred Guz Shaw 3 or upwards of Three hundred English feet length by 

the Keel and proportionate Dimensions; one particularly is to have 500 (sic — ? 50) guns 
and to bear his (i.e., Nadir's) Name, and they are to be supplied with Workmen an d 
Stores from the Europeans.” 


For the provision of the armament, a cannon foundry was erected at 
Gombroon, where it was intended to cast 300 cannon ; two copper cannon 

1 Gombroon Diary, 25th .August /5th September, 1741. See also Bazin, p. 318, and the K.N., 
Sr 308 i 1S stewed in the latter work that Nadir ordered the governors of Resht, Lahijan, 

Mazandaran, Pars, the Garmsirat, etc. to send “ to the sea of Qnlzum (presumably the 
r Persian Gulf) skilled carpenters who could build “ grabs n and other types of vessel. 
Gombroon Dtary 27th November /8th December. The Agent stated that Nadir's raqam 
ordered the Company to supply : 

^ three knowing Men, Carpenters to Effect a purpose he has of building Ships at 
-Doucheir, and That we also supply the People with what Stores they may want on 
ri - us J°. r We are to be paid their Value by the Beglerbeggy. . . . 
. ^ We 111 riiis Service, He shall let us feel his Displeasure.” 

t tt A similar ragam was addressed to the Dutch. 

intended for gaz-i-shah or shah gaz (more correctly, qaz) ; a gaz or shah gaz 
it to about 41 ruches. There is an obvious mistake in these figures, because 

a practicable, even in western shipyards, to build wooden vessels of such 

rigid enough. My friend, Admiral Ballard, 
Orlando and Mersey, were 300 feet 
thJv riie b«t oak on the soundest principles of naval architecture, 

to£ fefmes o^Sn^eT ^ dasticity of lon g rimber structures that they were 



PERSIAN GULF OPERATIONS, 1740-1747 21 $ 

were cast there in September, 1 74 1 A In the following month the Com- 
pany’s “ linguist ” at Isfahan reported the arrival there of the first consign- 
ment^ of Mazandaran timber ; it is believed to have reached Bushire 
later in the year or at the beginning of 1742. The unfortunate peasants 
had to transport this material themselves, and large numbers perished 
of exhaustion.® The manner in which this material was utilised will be 
described later in this chapter. 

In June, 1741, Imam Verdi Khan, the Sardar or General of the Gar- 
mirat, who took precedence over the Admiral, quarrelled with the latter 
and imprisoned him at Cong. The Sardar later had some conversations 
with the English Agent, in the course of which he “ talked of the mighty 
Designs to be prosecuted with this Fleet, but in a way that showed his 
Ignorance of such matters.” 1 * 3 In October, Imam Verdi Khan asked the 
Dutch Agent to lend him two ships that were then off Gombroon to take 
part in another expedition against the rebel Arabs. The Dutch Agent 
made such difficulties that the Sardar at length seized the two ships, sent 
the two Dutch captains and their officers and men ashore, and sailed off 
to attack the enemy at Qais. After the Persian fleet had landed some 
£00 men on the island, the Arab ships appeared and opened fire. 

The Sardar’s ship engaged and sank one of the mutineers’ vessels 
with heavy loss of life, and then proceeded to engage another ship. Being 
apparently dissatisfied with the short range of his guns, Imam Verdi 
Khan ordered one of them to be doubly charged ; the result was that, 
when the gun was fired, it burst, killing a score of men and mortally 
wounding the Sardar himself. Although he knew but little of naval 
matters, he certainly knew how to die. “ Do not let the enemy know ! ” 
he said and died soon afterwards. 4 * Both sides having suffered severely, 
then broke off the battle ; the advantage rested with the Arabs, because 
of the loss of the Sardar and of most of the men whom the Persians had 
landed on the island of Qais before the action began. 

At the beginning of January, 1742, two new 14-gun ships arrived at 
Gombroon from Sind, and, much to the annoyance of the English Agent, 
another vessel was acquired at Bushire by “ unauthorised purchase ” 
from a private individual named Peacock. 6 It was at this time that Taqi 
Khan Shirazi, having been reinstated in his former position of Beglarbegi, 
arrived at Gombroon. In the following month the keel of a large ship 

1 Gombroon Diary, 13th /24th September. 

•Bazin, p. 3x9. 

* Gombroon Diary, 25th July /5th August, 1741. 

* K.N., p. 367, and Gombroon Diary, 26th October /6th November ; according to Muhammad 

Karim, Imam Verdi Khan had a maund (6$ lbs.) of flesh tom off when the gun exploded. 
Otter (Vol. II, pp. 156 and 157) mentions this battle, but is incorrect in saying that it was 
the Persian admiral who perished on this occasion. 

* Gombroon Diary, 27th January /7th February, 1741. 



2l6 


NADIR SHAH 


was laid at Bushire 1 ; at this time the Persian navy consisted of fifteen 
ships (a few of which were still at Surat or on their way from that place). 

Events in ‘Oman were now once more to lead to Persian intervention. 
After the Persians had, as related in Chapter . XVIII, been forced to 
retire from Muscat to Julfar in 1 73 8, the Imam Saif ibn Sultan was supreme 
for a time. His licentious ways, however, soon outraged the feelings of 
many of his subjects, with the result that in February, 1742, they again 
broke into open revolt, 2 * deposed Saif and conferred the Imamate on his 
cousin, Sultan ibn Murshid. 8 Saif, as before, appealed to the Persians 
for aid, and Taqi Khan sent a favourable reply. The opposition, however, 
seemed likely to be strong, because the Huwala Arabs had joined the 
supporters or Sultan ibn Murshid. 

As the Huwala Arabs had seized Khasab, near Ras Musandam, the 
Persian garrison at Julfar marched on the Huwalas there in April, 1 742, 
and inflicted a crushing defeat on them. Shaikh Rama, one of the prin- 
cipal Huwala leaders, was killed in the battle, and over 500 Arabs were 
captured. 4 On the ioth/2ist June the Persian fleet sailed for Julfar, 
carrying reinforcements and stores 5 ; but it was not until the following 
November that Kalb ‘Ali Khan (who had become Sardar of the Garmsirat 
after the death of Iman Verdi Khan) crossed over to the Arabian shore. 
He was followed three weeks later by Taqi Khan himself. By this time 
the Persian fleet had been further strengthened by the arrival of four 
new ships from Surat. 

Taqi Khan, on meeting Saif ibn Sultan at Julfar, concluded a treaty 
whereby he undertook to restore him to the Imamate if he would, in return, 
recognise the suzerainty of Persia. The allies then proceeded to attack 
Sultan ibn Murshid and his adherents. 6 While a portion of the Persian 
army, under Kalb ‘Ali Khan, laid siege to Sohar, the Beglarbegi and Saif 
ibn Sultan proceeded by sea to Muscat, which was still held by partisans 
of the ex-Imam. 7 The Persian troops were able to go where they wished 
in the town, but Saif ibn Sultan refused them access to the forts of al-Jalali 
and Marani. Taqi Khan then resolved to get possession of these forts 

1 Letter from the Gombroon Agent to London, dated the 18th February /xst March, 1742. 

* According to Shaikh Abu Sulaimaa (see Guillain, Vol. I, p. 535), the date of Sultan ibn 

Muishid’s elfevation to the Imamate was the 10th Dhu’l-Hijja, 1154 (16th February, 1742). 
Salil ibn Raziq is obviously wrong in saying (p. 145) that Sultan ibn Murshid became Imam 
in 1151 (1738 19 ) it is dear from the Gombroon Diary that the revolution took place early 
in 1742, because the Agent of the E.I.Co. received a letter at the beginning of April of 
that year from the Beglarbegi asking for ships to take troops across to the assistance of 
Saif ibn Sultan. See also Otter, Vol. II, p. 163. 

* Sultan ibn Muishid’s mother was a daughter of Saif ibn Sultan I (Guillain, Vol. I, p. 535). 

* Gombroon Diary, 19th /30th April, 1742, Otter, Vol. II, p. 169. 

Ibid., xoth/aist June, 1742 ; Otter, Vol. II, p. 168, says that Taqi Khan, on this occasion, 
seat 6,000 men to Julfar in response to the deposed Imam’s appeal for assistance. 

Guillain, VbL. I, p. 536, Otter, VoL II, p. 163, 

Guillain, Vc 3 L I, p. 537. 



PERSIAN GULF OPERATIONS, 1740-1747 217 

by foul means if he could not do so by fair. Knowing the weakness of 
Saif ibn Sultan for drink, he had brought a cask of Shiraz wine from 
Persia. When invited, with some of his officers, to a banquet in Marani 
fort, Taqi Khan brought this cask of wine with him, and succeeded in 
making Saif and his officers completely drunk ; this, it appears, was no 
difficult proceeding insofar as Saif was concerned. Whilst Saif and his 
officers were lying insensible, Taqi Khan and the Persians with him secured 
possession of the fort without difficulty or bloodshed. The Beglarbegi 
then stole Saif’s seal and affixed it to an order which he had had written 
in the latter’s name charging the commander of the fort of al-Jalali to 
admit the Persian troops. The Arab commander, suspecting nothing, 
obeyed the order. When Saif recovered his senses, he found, to his dis- 
may, that both forts were in the possession of the Persians. 1 

It being useless to attempt to regain the forts, Saif decided to continue 
the war against Sultan ibn Murshid. 

Sohar was very ably defended by the Governor, Ahmad ibn Sa'id, 
who, as will be seen below, later founded the Al-Bu Sa‘id dynasty of 
Muscat. Taqi Khan and Saif ibn Sultan advanced against Sultan ibn 
Murshid, who, finding his forces out-numbered, retired towards Sohar, 
where he hoped to be able to break through the Persian lines and join 
Ahmad ibn Sa‘id. Sultan ibn Murshid succeeded, apparently, in enter- 
ing Sohar, but he was killed soon after, when leading a sortie.® Ahmad, 
however, continued bravely to resist the Persians until July, when, having 
begun to run short of food and munitions, he deemed it expedient to come 
to terms. 8 The siege had lasted for seven or eight months, and had cost 
the Persians over 3,000 men. 4 

Shortly after the death of Sultan ibn Murshid, Saif ibn Sultan, being 
overcome with grief at witnessing the state to which his own behaviour 
and acts had reduced his country, left the Persians and retired to Rustaq, 
where he died a few days later. In such inglorious fashion the Ya‘riba 
dynasty of ‘Oman came to an end. 5 

It is to be noted that, if Saif ibn Sultan had succeeded, with the help 

1 This is the story as given, by Neibuhr, in his Beschreibung van Arabian (p. 300) ; Guillain 
gives a slightly different version. The Agent of the E.I.Co. at Gombroon received a letter 
from the Persian Government on the 18th February, 1743, stating that the Beglarbegi 
had captured Muscat. Reports of Taqi Khan’s subterfuge must have been spread abroad, 
for the Agent added that it was supposed that the place had been taken " by dealing under- 
hand with the Imam's slaves to deliver him the forts. 

* Guillain, Vol. I, p. 538. Some uncertainty exists as to whether Sultan ibn Murshid was irilbd 

in this way or whether he perished when attempting to force his way through the Persian 
lines. 

* Gombroon Diary, 21st July, 1743. The news of the capitulation was received in Gombroon 

by trankey from Sohar on that day. See also Niebuhr’s Beschreibung, p. 301. 

* Gombroon Diary, 2 1st July. Salil ibn Raziq’s account of the siege (p. 140) is grossly exaggerated, 

and Otter's statements (Vol. II, p. 181) are incorrect. 

* Guillain, Vol. I, 538. 



2l8 


NADIR SHAH 


of the Persians, in securing his reinstatement as Imam and if he had then 
accepted, as he had agreed to do, the suzerainty of Persia, Zanzibar and the 
dependencies of ‘Oman on the African mainland would ipo facto have 
likewise formed, in theory at least, part of Nadir’s empire. 1 

The astute Ahmad ibn Sa‘id managed to ingratiate himself with Taqi 
Khan to such an extent that he not only obtained confirmation of his 
position as Governor of Sohar, but also had Barka added to his domains. 2 

It is stated in the Gombroon Diary that 3,^00 recruits were to be sent 
over to Arabia, to replace those who had lost their lives at Sohar and else- 
where : 

" the King having ordered that when they were Masters of the Sea-Shore to march 
inland and it is supposed his Designs are to conquer the whole Country, but while he 
is doing this he is destroying Ins Own, and Nothing but Misery, Tyranny and 
Oppresion are to be seen or heard in these Parts, the People being daily tax’d (so) 
that before Time is given for collecting one Another is laid on.” 3 

Meanwhile, the war between Persia and Turkey, which had been 
threatening for so long, at last broke out. Nevertheless, Nadir did not 
order the withdrawal of his forces from ‘Oman, with the exception of some 
vessels at Sohar which, it appears, he intended to use in the combined land 
and river operations against Basra. 4 

For some time past th.ere had been serious friction between Taqi Khan 
and Kalb ‘Ali, and each sent to Nadir accusations against the other. The 
Shah was greatly displeased, and ordered both to be recalled ; he appointed 
Muhammad Husain Khan Qiriqlu, who had just returned from a mission 
to Russia, to succeed Kalb ‘Ali as Sardar of the Garmsirat. 5 Early in 
October the new Sardar passed through Gombroon on his way to Sohar. 

Taqi Khan, with part of the fleet, arrived at Gombroon on the 20th 
November/ 1 st December, and was followed a few days later by Kalb ‘Ali 
Khan ; the latter secretly informed the Company’s “ linguist ” that 
Taqi Khan had actually revolted and that he had spent several days trying 
to persuade him (Kalb *Ali) to join in the revolt. Taqi Khan had the 
ex-Sardar strangled a few days later and caused his body to be thrown down 
a well® ; he then publicly raised the standard of revolt and marched off 

1 The internal troubles in 'Oman ha d, however, led to a weakening of the 'Omani authority 
in East Africa, which resulted in the loss of Mombasa (which the Portuguese temporarily 
regained) in 1733 ; see O. Kersten's Tabelarische XJebersicht der Geschichte Osiafrikas , 
pp. 17 and 18, in Vol. Ill of Baron von der Decken’s Reisen in Ost-Afrika , Leipzic, 1879. 

*Gujl 3 am, Vol. I, p, 538, Niebuhr, p. 301, Salil ibn Rariq, pp. 149 and 150. 

• Gombroon Diary, 21st July/ist August, 1743. 

4 Ibid, 24th August /4th ^ September. These vessels must have arrived too late to participate 
in the i nit i a l operations (for particulars of the siege of Ba§ra, see the ensuing Chapter) . 

• Autobiography of Mirza Muhammad Shirazi, p. 16. 

• Gombroon Diary, 30th December, 1743 /10th January, 1744. 



PERSIAN GULF OPERATIONS, 1740-1747 219 

to Shiraz. The measures which Nadir took to quell this revolt will be 
given in Chapter XXIV ; all that is necessary to say here is that Nadir 
was so occupied in suppressing it that he was unable to pay any attention 
to ‘Oman. When he had overcome Taqi Khan, he became so taken up 
with the prosecution of the Turkish war that he was likewise unable to 
concern himself with affairs in ‘Oman. In consequence, the Persian 
garrison there received no reinforcements. The able Ahmad ibn Sa‘id 
took advantage of this situation. One of the conditions of his settlement 
with the Persians at Sofcar had been that he was to pay them tribute regu- 
larly, but, after Taqi Khan’s departure, he failed to make his payments 
on the appointed dates, alleging that he had no means of sending the 
money to Muscat. As a result, the commanders at that place became short 
of money and were unable to pay their troops, many of whom consequently 
deserted. 1 Having invited these commanders to Barka, on the pretext 
of arranging for the payment of the tribute due, Ahmad seized them and 
the soldiers who had accompanied them ; he then proceeded to Muscat 
and summoned the Persians there to surrender, offering them money 
if they yielded of their own accord, but threatening them with imprison- 
ment if they did not. Being deprived of their leaders and short of pro- 
visions, and having no hope of being able to resist, the majority surrendered. 
It is said that Ahmad put some of these troops to death, but allowed the 
others to return to Persia. 2 In this way, he became master of the coast 
from Muscat to Sohar, and he later extended his sway over the whole 
country, with the exception of Julfar and a small strip of adjacent territory 
which the Persians managed to retain for some years. 3 Having expelled 
the invaders and restored order in ‘Oman, he had no difficulty in inducing 
the chief Qadi to arrange for his election as Imam, thus founding the 
Al-Bu-Sa‘id dynasty, which rules in Muscat to this day. The election of 
Ahmad to the Imamate is said to have taken place in the latter part of 
1744.* 

Insofar as Persia was concerned, the ‘Oman campaigns had proved a 
costly failure. At least 20,000 men had perished either in battle or from 
the ravages of disease, 5 but this heavy sacrifice brought no commensurate 
advantage. Like the Daghistan campaigns, but on a lesser scale, the 
‘Oman operations imposed a prolonged and useless drain upon Nadir's 

‘Niebuhr’s Beschreibung, p. 302, Guillain, Vol. I, p. 539. 

* Ibid., p. 303. Salil ibn Raziq’s account (pp. 153 and 154) of Ahmad’s treachery to the Persians 

and his subsequent massacre of them seems much exaggerated. 

* Entries in the Gombroon Diary show that, as late as 1748, ships carrying men and provisions 

were sent over from time to time to Julfar. 

‘Guillain, Vol. I, p. 542, and Kersten’s Tabellarische Uebersicht, p. 18, Salil ibn Raziq states 
(p. 152) that Ahmad ibn Sa’id became Imam in 1154 a.h. {1741 /1742), but this is clearly 
incorrect. 

‘There are several references in the Gombroon Diary to heavy wastage from disease in the 
Persian armies in 'Oman. 



220 


NADIR SHAH 


resources, and the efforts to provide men and material to carry them on 
caused much privation and suffering in Southern Persia. _ 

Nevertheless, success would certainly have been attained if Nadir, 
instead of entrusting the supreme command to the corrupt and inefficient 
Taqi Khan, had given it to some honest and capable military leader like 
Tahmasp Khan Jalayir. 

For ‘Oman the results were vastly different. Although the Persian 
invasions entailed for a time much loss and hardship to the inhabitants, 
they brought about the union of the conflicting interests and led directly 
to the supersession of the decadent Ya'riba dynasty by that of the Al-Bu 
Sa'ids. 1 

Throughout this period Nadir persisted in his efforts to build up his 
fleet, partly by purchase and partly by building his own vessels. For a 
time, endeavours were made to make progress with the construction of 
the ship at Bushire, but little could be accomplished without a competent 
person in charge of the work. In order to surmount this difficulty, 
Nadir, being apparently under the impression that all Europeans must 
have a knowledge of shipbuilding, decided to entrust the supervision of the 
operations to a Fleming named de la Porterie, who was then resident in 
Isfahan. What ensued is best told in the words of Monsieur A. Martineau, 
who discovered the particulars in the archives of the Compagnie Fran^aise 
des Indes at Pondichery 2 : 

" II (Nadir) s’imagina que cet homme (de la Porterie) devait tout savoir et il 
l’indta a descendre k Bouchir pour presider k la construction du navire. La Potterie 
(sic) ue connaissait rien aux affaires navales et s’excusa sur son incompetence Ses 
excuses ne furent pas admises ; bon gr6, mal gr6 il dut venir k la c&te, et le voilk 
ingdnieur. L’incident eut ete simplement burlesque, si le malheureux n’dtait mqrt 
k la peine. Les tribulations qu’il 6prouva pour accomplir ce travail improvise 
alterferent profondement sa sante. Lorsqu’on lui permit de retoumer k Isfahan, 
il etait trop tard. La Potterie mourut en route ci Chiraz, au mois d’aout 1742 . . 

Poor de la Porterie’s labours proved to be all in vain, because Nadir 
ordered work on the ship to be stopped in August, 1743, owing, it appears, 
to those in charge of the work after de la Porterie’s departure having been 
found guilty of embezzlement. 8 Work on this ship was never resumed, 
and the unfinished hulk was to be seen at Bushire for many years after- 

1 R. Said Ruete, in his lecture to the Central Asia Society in 1929, pointed out that the Al-Bu 
Sa'id dynasty achieved power by driving out the Persians just as the Ya'riba dynasty had 
previously done by expelling the Portuguese. See the Journal of the C.A.S., Vol. XVI, 
part IV, p. 419. 

•See his article entitled Le Premier Consulat de France it Bassora (1739 /1745), in the Revue de 
FHistoire des Colonies Franfaises (Paris) 1917, Vol. V, pp. 411 and 412. M. Martineau 
gives this man’s name as la Potterie, but there are amongst Otter's correspondence a 
numb er of letters addressed to him as M. de la Porterie. 

* Gombroon Diary, 24th August /4th September, 1743. 



PERSIAN GULF OPERATIONS, 1740-1747 221 

wards . 1 The results of Nadir’s shipbuilding policy would doubtless have 
been very different if he had secured the services of a man like Captain 
John Elton 8 or one of the Parsee master-builders of Surat to supervise 
the work at Bushire. 

Appreciating the impracticability of adding to his fleet in this way, 
Nadir fell back on the expensive, but effective, system of purchase from 
Surat, and he was able in this way to build up a navy consisting of no less 
than thirty ships and a large number of smaller craft in the Gulf . 3 Early 
in 1 745, the Gombroon Agent reported to London that 4 : 

“ H.M. still seems to continue his Resolution of having a large Fleet for the support 
of which he has lately entered into a Scheme of Trade and has ordered two ships 
annually (which are now getting ready) with cargoes of the choicest Persian Goods to 
the amount of 5,000 Tomaunds to be sent to Surat, for purchasing Stores and Building 
two other Ships. The Goods they have taken of the Merchants at their own Prices 
by which his Majesty must be a considerable gainer, that we wish it may not en- 
courage him to enter further into Trade." 

Part of the fleet at this time was at Gombroon, embarking troops for 
Julfar ; the remainder was at Bushire. 

During the remainder of his reign Nadir was so preoccupied with the 
Turkish war and with the revolts that repeatedly broke out in Persia 
that he was obliged to neglect his navy. Several ships were lost through 
shipwreck, while the condition of the others steadily deteriorated and dis- 
cipline became more and more relaxed as time went on . 5 It seems that a 
year or so after his assassination the fleet ceased to exist as a fighting 
force . 6 

Nadir’s bid for sea-power in the Gulf, like his attempts to conquer 
‘Oman, ended in ultimate failure. Nevertheless, the energy and persis- 
tence with which he strove to revive the ancient Persian mastery of the sea 7 

1 The remains of this hulk were still visible when Sir William Ouseley landed at Bushire in 
March, 1811 (see his Travels in Various Countries of the East, more particularly Persia, 
London, 1819, Vol. I, p. 188). 

* Some mention of this remarkable Englishman has already been made (see Chapters XVII 

and XX) ; details of his efforts to build a fleet for Nadir on the Caspian Sea will be found 
in Appendix I. 

•Letter from Gombroon to London, dated the 20th February /3rd March, 1745. 

* Ibid. 

* Two Persian ships were at Bombay at the beginning of 1747 ; see the Bombay Government 

Consultations for the 19th January of that year, in which it is stated : “ As the common 
people belonging to Nadir Shah’s two ships have been lately very troublesome to the poorer 
sort of the inhabitants, the President acquaints the Board that to prevent the ill conse- 
quences that might otherwise ensue, he has given orders forbidding these people to go out 
of the town gates.” It is evident from the above passage that there was but little discipline 
on board the two ships. 

* Nevertheless, the fleet was still able to maintain communication between the Persian ports 

and Julfar in 1748 ; see p. 219 above. 

1 The subject of Persian seafaring in later Sasanian and early Muhammadan times has been 
dealt with by Professor Hadi Hasan in his work A History of Persian Navigation (London, 
1928), and by Monsieur G. Ferrand in his article L'EUment Person dans les fextes N antiques 
Arabes, in Vol. CCIV of the Journal Asiatique, April /June, 1924. 



222 


NADIR SHAH 


afford proof of his breadth of vision and his other remarkable gifts. 
However, in the course of a few short years not even an autocrat lilrp 
Nadir, powerful though he was, could turn into seamen a people who 
at that time, were neither by inclination nor training in the least sea- 
minded. In order to man his ships, he had to fall back upon Arabs 
and, to a lesser extent, Baluchis and Indians, none of whom had any 
real feeling of loyalty to him or to Persia ; that is the real reason why, 
in the end, his great endeavour achieved no lasting success. One wonders 
what the effect would have been if he had sent Elton to the Persian Gulf 
in 1743, in order to look after his navy there. Had he done so, he would 
have had no Caspian fleet, but his ships on the waters of the Gulf would 
have been most efficiently supervised ; further, the friction between the 
Russian Government and the British merchants engaged in the transit 
trade venture to Persia via Russia would have been avoided. 1 Neverthe- 
less, the final result would have been the same ; in the chaotic period that 
followed Nadir’s assassination in 1747, not even Elton could have pre- 
vented the fleet from lapsing into decay. 2 

1 For particulars of Nadir’s Caspian fleet and of the British trade with Persia via Russia, see 
Appendix I. 

1 The concluding remarks of the above chapter have been taken almost verbatim from a lecture 
on Nadir Shah’s navy which I delivered to the Iran Society on the 9th December, 1936. 



CHAPTER XXII 


Tiie Turkish War : The Mesopotamian Campaign 

Zl™J^ Russia, and Indeed Persia itself, received but little authentic 
and p/? adlr dUnn F - hlS absence m India * The relations between Turkey 
,i P I 3 ^ m T ed m ,^ e same an omalous state as they had done since 
73 . Juridically speaking, there was no real peace ; there was merely 

thf f S P, ension of h ^tilities, because the truncated treaty of 
e : th September, 1736, had never been ratified.* It was natural 
that the Sultan and his advisers should feel some anxiety lest Nadir 
if he returned victorious from India, should renew the waf; they were 
well aware that he would not scruple, if occasion arose, to use the failure 
to reach agreement on the religious questions as a pretext for reopening 
hostilities.. However, whilst the Shah was so far away and nartiS! 
when persistent rumours arrived of his defeat and death, the ? Porte fek 

relief fek hTfh^ V ?°- en k t . lreI ^ removed , had become remote. The 
relief felt by the Porte in this respect was reflected in its relations with 

fsTsent t UStm - T i e Treat ^ of BeI g rade had been Jgnld on £ 
he JXTh 17 '??» b ?\ when difficulties arose in confection with 
the fulfilment of certain of the terms of settlement, Turkey’s behaviour 
was anything but conciliatory. However, a sudden improvement in X 
attitude of the Porte towards Russia and Austria was noticeable “wLk 
became known in Constantinople that Nadir was at length on his way 

Powe^weL 11 *" Christ*! 

th/r m Tfr S • ater nr - reac h ed Constantinople, where he was received^ bv 
the Grand Vizier. IJajji Khan’s “ haughty and contemptuous cafrkl - 
oil this occasion and his obstinate refusal to discuss the obiects nf h;« ■ g - 

with anyone but the Sultan gave great offence. 4 mission 

After being given an audience by the Sultan, the Ambassador discussed 

1 See pp. 106 and 121 above. 

* \ Hammer, Vol. XV, p. 36. 

^sfan° 'TZaLad^\om^ttoJ^orU n ^ XXXI ^ ° f H< ‘^ y KMn ‘ the 

FOI ^ksTot%f^ k ^ 01 * eW'Siyd April, r 74I , and the 

223 



NADIR SHAH 


224 

the religious questions with the Turkish ministers and ‘ ulama . The views 
of the Porte remained unchanged in this respect, but it was not deemed 
prudent, at this juncture, to refuse outright to accede to Nadir’s demands. 
The Porte therefore replied evasively that action would be taken in accord- 
ance with the precepts of the true law. 1 

As the Ambassador had not been given full powers and as it was not 
altogether clear from the messages which he brought whether Nadir 
desired peace or war, it was decided to arrive at no settlement with him, 
but to send an embassy to Persia. The ambassadors selected were Munif" 
Efendi, a high official of the Treasury, and Nazif Mustafa Efendi, the 
director of the Constantinople Customs. 2 This. embassy reached Nadir’s 
camp (some eleven miles north of Darband) in January, 1742. 3 The 
Turkish envoys delivered a message from the Sultan in which the latter 
made excuses for his inability to accede to the Persian religious demands. 
Nadir replied that he wished that the Sultan would recognise the Ja'fari 
sect, since his (Nadir’s) fundamental object was to tighten the cords 
of friendship. He went on to say that, as the matter of this fifth sect 
contained the elements for the pacification of the Muslim state, and as the 
Sultan was Caliph of Islam, he would go in person to Turkey in order to 
reach finality regarding the question. “I am hoping that, if Allah 
wills, the matter may be arranged there on my arrival.” 4 With this 
threat he concluded his reply. 

Feeling that it would not be amiss to give his religious policy the 
semblance, at any rate, of hieratic approval, Nadir convened an assembly 
of the 1 ulama, under the presidency of the Mulla-Bashi, ‘Ali Akbar. 
The L ulama knew what was expected of them, and obediently confirmed 
thefatwa of 1736 regarding the establishment of the Ja'fari sect, the erec- 
tion of the fifth pillar in the Ka'ba and the abjuration of the Shi‘a heresy. 5 - 

Although he had thus flung down the gauntlet to Turkey, Nadir 
was unable, for some thirteen months, to put his threats into execution, 
owing to his being kept fully occupied by the Lazgis and their allies 
in Daghistan. 

Notwithstanding the repeated reports of Persian reverses in Daghistan, 
the Porte was alarmed when, early , in April, 1 742, Munif Efendi and Nazif 
Efendi returned to Constantinople with Nadir’s reply and their information 
as to his threatening attitude. Reports from the Turkish commanders 
on the frontier confirmed the information brought back by the ambassadors, 
and active preparations for war were made. 


1 Von Hammer, Vol. XV, p. 41. 

% Ibid., p. 42. 

* T.N . , p. 231. Na?if's name is wrongly given as Latif in the Bombay edition. 



THE TURKISH WAR 


225 

When informing Whitehall of the above developments, Sir E. Fawkener 
added that there was a great lack of provisions near the frontiers. 

“ This war,” he said, “ is on all accounts very unseasonable for it finds the Turks 
still panting under the fatigues of the last with the Christians, and with the remem- 
brances still fresh of the difficulties and hazards of the past Persian Campaigns, the 
Country yet feels the heavy effects of them, and is so exhausted as to be veiy ill- 
provided for the subsistence of Armys. There is also such an indisposition in all 
sorts of People to go that way, that it will be no easy matter to draw together an Army 
of any consequence. . . .” 1 

As the year wore on, further news was received of Nadir’s difficulties 
in Daghistan, with the result that the Porte became rather less apprehensive. 

Muhammad Kazim states, in his Nadir-Nama , 2 * that when the Lazgis 
captured some Persian troops in Daghistan and sent them to Trebizond 
and Constantinople, the Turks deemed this to be a sign of Nadir’s weak- 
ness. In consequence, they began to levy heavier tolls on the Persian 
merchants and caravans in Turkish territory, and they punished, tortured 
and sent back to Persia the officials appointed by the Persian Government 
to look after those of its nationals who performed the pilgrimage to Mecca. 
When Nadir learnt of this action by the Turks, he became more determined 
than ever to recommence hostilities. 

A curious incident is recorded in the Gombroon Diary , in which it was 
stated, on the 24th May/4th June, 1742, that : 

“ Shaw Nadir would send an Embassadour to the King of England in order to 
engage a firm alliance with him, that He, the King, was informed Our King (whom it 
seems he mistook for the Emperor) had had some Part of his Territories wrested from 
him by the Turks, Wherefore he would join with us against them and wanted to know 
whether we thought our King would be induced to hearken to his Propositions." 

The Agent replied that this matter was “ an Affair of Kingdoms and foreign 
to our Purpose,” that it concerned another ruler, and that the Turks, 
moreover, were the friends of the British. The Agent concluded, “ We 
find they (i.e., the Persians) are entirely strangers to what lyes without 
them.”* 

The Porte held grave doubts as to the loyalty of Ahmad Pasha of 
Baghdad, and it is said that his enemy, ‘Ali Pasha, did his best to blacken 
his character. 4 The truth of the matter was that Nadir certainly had a 

1 Sir E. Fawkener’s despatch, of the 8th /19th April, 1742. 

* Nadir-Nama, p. ir, (as repeated references 'will be made to this work, the third and conrioding 

volume of his history of Nadir, it will henceforth be referred to as the N.N.). 

* Nevertheless, Nadir, by means of his numerous embassies, was very well informed of the 

situation in both Constantinople and St. Petersburg. 

4 Otter, Vol. II, p. 359. 

Q 



22 6 


NADIR SHAH 


great regard for Ahmad Pasha, 1 which the latter reciprocated, but there 
is no proof that Ahmad would really have betrayed his country and become 
a henchman of Persia 2 ; he was too fond of his position as Pasha of 
Baghdad, where he ruled almost as a sovereign, many days’ journey from 
Constantinople ; under Nadir, the authority of the Crown at Baghdad 
would have been a reality instead of a mere shadow. 

Many Turks and Arabs in Mesopotamia did not scruple to make 
arge sums of money by supplying Persian agents with horses, mules 
md camels, although they must have realised that these animals would 
be of great use to the Persians when at length hostilities with Turkey 
began again. 8 

Early in 1743, just before Nadir’s departure from Daghistan, a further 
Turkish embassy arrived at his camp, and delivered a letter from the 
Sultan, in which the last-named excused himself once more for his inability 
:o agree to recognise the Ja‘fari sect and to authorise the erection of the 
ifth pillar in the Ka‘ba. In reply, Nadir, informed the Sultan of the 
mpending advance of his “ world-conquering army.” 4 

Then followed the terrible march to the Mughan plain, 5 where a halt 
or twenty days was made to enable the men and baggage animals to 
ecover. After this respite, the march was resumed via Hashtarud and 
Jara Chaman ; passing within four farsakhs of Tabriz, the army continued 
outhwards to Merivan, where the princes Nasrullah, Imam Quli and Shah- 
ukh joined it from Mashhad on the 24th Rabi‘ II (18th May). An 
imbassador from Muhammad Shah arrived in company with the princes, 
md brought with him a number of costly gifts. After a brief halt at 
VIerivan, Nadir resumed his march to Sinandij. 

The renewed threat of war with Persia made Turkey more inclined 
0 be friendly with, or at any rate, less hostile to, Russia. The news 
>f the sending of the Russian reinforcements to Astrakhan and Kizliar 
lad, for a time, alarmed Turkey, as it feared at first that these forces were 
0 be used against her, in conjunction with Nadir’s hosts. This fear 


Otter, Vol. II, p. 184; Otter states that he was informed by an Persian that Nadir once 
asked some of his courtiers who, in their opinion, was greater than he was. The courtiers 
replied that they knew of no one who was even his equal. Nadir then said “You are wrong. 
Ahmad Khan, the Governor of Baghdad, is assuredly greater than I, since he has maintained 
h imself for so long between two enemies as strong as myself and Sultan Mahmud, and 
he does what he wishes with us.” 

Longrigg, in his Four Centuries of Modem Iraq (p. 161), states that there is, in recorded facts, 
44 no justification for the odious nickname of * NidhamuT-Mulk ' bestowed by his detractors.” 
(Otter, on p. 365 of his second volume, says that the Kahya of Mosul, when in conversation 
with him in June, 1743, referred to Ahmad Pasha as “ a second Nizamu'l-Mulk/' and 
alleged that the Pasha was the true author of all the troubles that were then about to afflict 
the country). 

Otter states (vol. II, pp. 247 and 248) that all the time that he was at I§fahan and Ba§ra, 
^ I s ^ or some 6 years, this traffic had been in progress. 



THE TURKISH WAR 


227 


proved groundless, but Turkey continued to act with circumspection in- 
sofar as Russia was concerned . 1 

Nadir, before leaving Daghistan, had sent envoys to Ahmad Pasha 
demanding the surrender of Baghdad. The Pasha, on receiving this 
message, sought to gain time by replying through his Kahya, Muhammad 
Aqa, that he wished to maintain friendly relations with him, but that he 
could not surrender Baghdad until the end of his term of office ; the 
Sultan had appointed him, and he had to do his duty. He concluded 
by asking for a respite . 2 * 

Muhammad Aqa delivered this message to Nadir at Sinandij ; the 
Shah received it in good part, but dispatched several bodies of troops 
to seize Samarra, Hilla, Najaf, Karbala, and other places in Mesopotamia. 
At the same time, he appointed Qoja Khan Shaikhanlu, of the Chamish- 
gazak tribe, commander of the forces that were to besiege Basra, and 
ordered the Governors of Shirvan, Hawiza, Shushtar and Dizful and the 
Arabs in those parts to co-operate with him.* The siege of Basra by 
these forces will be described later in this chapter. 

On the 1st July, Nadir sent Nasrullah and the other princes to Hamadan. 
He then gave the Mughal Ambassador leave to return, and handed to him 
many gifts for the Emperor. 

Since Nadir contemplated going in due course into winter quarters 
in the neighbourhood of Baghdad, he gave instructions for quantities 
of corn to be collected in the Shahrizur district for dispatch later to his 
camp . 4 

There is some element of doubt respecting Nadir’s movements at this 
stage. It appears from Mirza Mahdi's official record that he, on leaving 
Sinandij, marched back whence he had come as far as Merivan, and that 
he then struck westwards and, after crossing the Turkish frontier near 
Panjvin, entered the rich and fertile Shahrizur district* ; this appears to 

1 Stanhope AspinweU (who became Chargi d’Affaires on Sir E. Fawkener’s departure on leave 
from Constantinople in November, 1742) reported on the 8th /19th July, 1743, that the 
Turks dare not alarm Russia, " much less hold a stiff or threatening style with her, lest 
She might be provoked to retaliate it upon them, in the end, by joining the Persians, an 
Apprehension which has been long thought here more than chimerical" (S.P. 97, Vol. 
XXXII). 

1 T.N., p. 239. Sulaiman §a'igh states, in his T a'rihhu’l-M ausil (Cairo, 1923), p. 278, that 
Ahmad Pasha resolved to adopt a canning policy, and sent word to Nadir that he should 
in the first place conquer Mosul and that he would, on his return, find the gates of Baghdad 
open. According to von Hammer (Vol. XV, p. 57), Ahmad Pasha wrote to one of Nadir’s 
advisers that he had proposed to the Porte that two eminent lawyers should be appointed 
to find a solution of the difficult question of the Ja'fari sect ; if Ahmad Pasha actually 
made any such proposal, he doubtless did so with the knowledge that it would be rejected ; 
all that he wished to do for the moment was to gain enough tame to gather in the harvest 
and accumulate stocks of provisions. 

* T.N., p. 239. 

* Ibid. 

* Ibid. 



228 


NADIR SHAH 


be what actually occurred, but Muhammad Kazim states 1 that Nadir 
before entering Mesopotamia, went to Kirmanshah, where he laid the 
foundations of a large new fortress and arsenal and then reviewed his army ; 
according to this authority, the troops, who were drawn from all parts 
of the empire, numbered 37£,ooo. 2 Muhammad Kazim further states 
that Nadir bade his generals prepare for a three years’ struggle with the 
Turks. 

Khalid Pasha, 8 the Governor of the Shahrizur district, fled as soon as 
the Persian army entered his territory. Nadir continued his march 
westwards, and on the 14th Jumadi II (5th August, 1743) he appeared 
before Kirkuk. The garrison abandoned the town, but retired to the 
citadel, where they prepared to resist. As this citadel was strongly fortified, 
Nadir made no attempt to take it by assault without a preliminary bom- 
bardment. When his heavy artillery arrived a week later, he fiercely 
cannonaded the citadel from all sides, with the result that the garrison 
surrendered before nightfall. 4 

Mirza Mahdi states 5 that Nadir had resolved not to go beyond Kirkuk, 
in the hope that the messages which had been sent to the Porte through 
the intermediary of Ahmad Pasha and his Kahya would meet with a favour- 
able answer and so render any further advance unnecessary. This hope 


1 N.N. I p. xi. Muhammad Kazim was not an eye-witness of these events, and he may have 
been led into error because, in the first place, Nadir had doubtless intended to go via 
Kirmanshah, when he had had Baghdad as his immediate objective ; secondly, he sent 
his heavy artillery via Kirmanshah and Zuhab ( T.N. , p. 240). 

* There seems no reason to doubt that this review was held, but it is more likely that it took 
place at Sinandij than at Kirmanshah. Muhammad Kazim states (N.N., p. 12) that he 
got the details of the numbers of the army from an army clerk {lashkar-navis ) ; these 
details are as follows : 

Troops from Khurasan 65,000 

„ „ Persian ‘Iraq 45,000 

„ „ Luristan, Bakhtiari country, Khuzistan and 

Fars 50,000 

„ „ Adharbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Shirvan, 

etc. .. ,, .. 60,000 

,, „ Hamadan and Kirmanshah . . . . 25,000 

„ „ Turkistan and the Turkoman steppes . . 60,000 

,, ,, Ghazna, Kabul, Peshawar, Kas hmir , Multan, 

Lahore, etc. . . , . . . . . 70,000 

Total . . . . . . 375,000 

These numbers seem exaggerated (unless non-combatants were included), but the relative 
■ t J? ro P ortlons b® correct. The large number of non-Persian troops is noteworthy. 

1 ,N., p. * 39 * Khahd Pasha belonged to the well-known Baban fa mil y ; Nadir appointed 
cousin Sa lim Beg Governor of the Shahrizur in his stead. 

P" 2 39- According to another account the garrison held out for two days after the 
bombardment began. See M. H. Pognon’s French translation, entitled Chronique Syriaque 
• Muatw au Stige de Mossoul par Us Persans en 1743, of a Syriac MS., the original of which 
& i C ®f* :am Habfeche (? Habash) in 1746. The Syriac text, together with 
u. irognon 3 translation, was published in the Florilegium Melchior de Vogiii, Paris, 1900, 
PP- 4 « 9 - 503 - 
‘ T.N., p. 239. 



THE TURKISH WAR 


229 

was doomed to disappointment, however, because Nadir received a letter 
from the Sultan whilst he was at Kirkuk stating that the Shaikhu’l-Islam 
had issued a fatwa which declared lawful the killing or capturing of 
Persians, whose religion, it was stated, was contrary to Islam. Simul- 
taneously, the Porte had ordered Hajji Husain Pasha, 1 * of Mosul, to put 
that city into a state of defence. 

Owing to the provocative terms of the Sultan’s letter, Nadir left Kirkuk 
on the 3rd September with the object of taking Mosul. Arbil attempted 
resistance, but the Persian artillery speedily forced it to yield. Nadir 
then pressed on towards Mosul, his troops plundering and destroying 
the villages and devastating the countryside ; amongst the places destroyed 
was Karamles, the former Karmelis,® where Alexander the Great had so 
signally defeated Darius Codomannus in 331 b.c. No distinction was 
made between Muslims and Christians, and in some villages churches 
and monasteries were rased to the ground and the priests and monks 
made prisoners. 3 

On nearing Altun Kopri, the inhabitants came out to greet Nadir 
and offer their submission ; they informed him that there was a tribe 
of devil-worshippers, 4 who were evilly disposed. Nadir sent 12,000 
men under his nephew, ‘Ali Quli Khan, against these Yazidis, who had 
collected all their available fighting men. A battle ensued, in which the 
tribesmen fought very bravely, but were at length overborne by the 
trained Khurasani and other troops. After this battle, ‘Ali Quli marched 
against and carried by assault a mountain stronghold of the Yazidis, 
who were not thoroughly crushed, however, before another pitched 
battle had been fought. ‘Ali Quli and his men thereupon returned 
to the main army.® 

In the meanwhile, Husain Pasha of Mosul was busy preparing for the 
impending siege ; the numbers of his garrison were raised to 30,000 
men when his namesake, the Governor of Aleppo, arrived with his troops. 
Encouraged by this timely reinforcement, Husain Pasha firmly refused to 
yield when messengers from Nadir summoned him to do so, and sent his 
brother, ‘Abdu’l-Fattah Beg, with part of his forces to oppose the Persian 
advance guard. This Turkish force encountered the Persians under 


1 Husain Pasha’s grandfather, ‘ Abdul- J alii, who was a Christian, had been for long in the service 
of the Pasha of Mosul. For details of the Jalili family, see Niebuhr’s Retsebtsdunibmg, 
Vol. II, pp. 362 and 363, and Longrigg, op. cit., pp. J38 and 347. 

* It was known in Aramaic as Gangamala, meaning “ Camel’s Neck ” (cf. the Turkish i*t*k 

boyttn). 

* Habfcche, p. 499, and Sulaiman Sa'igh, p. 278. 

* The Persian term used is Shoifan-parast, which means literally “ devil-worshipper, ’’ and is 

evidently intended to denote the Yazidis ; it is to be noted, however, that these people 
are in reality Devil-propitiators rather than Devil-worshippers. 

* N.N., pp. 20-40. 



NADIR SHAH 


23 ° 

4 Ali Quli east of the Tigris ; it was soon routed, and narrowly escaped 
being cut off when retreating to Mosul. 

On the 25th Rajab (14th September) Nadir and his army camped at 
Yarimja, close to the tomb of the Prophet Jonah ; at the Shah’s orders 
bridges were thrown across the Tigris both above and below Mosul, 
and numbers of men were sent across to the western side of the river in 
order to complete the encirclement of the town. 

News of Nadir’s invasion of Mesopotamia and of his threat to Baghdad 
and capture of Kirkuk produced consternation at Constantinople. Fears 
of an uprising by the populace caused the Qizlar Agha to secure the 
dismissal of the ‘Ali Pasha, the Grand Vizier, and the appointment of 
Hasan Pasha, an ex-Janissary, to the post. There seems to be no doubt 
that "Ali Pasha was made a scapegoat, and that Hasan Pasha was chosen 
because his appointment would meet with the approval of the army. 1 
There was further alarm in the Turkish capital when reports arrived 
of the siege of Mosul ; the Turks turned for advice to Count Bonneval, 
who undertook to bring the Persian War to a successful conclusion in 
one campaign, but his plan was not adopted. 2 

To return to the siege of Mosul. Having entirely surrounded the city, 
the Persians constructed redoubts, and placed in position fourteen batteries 
in which 160 cannon and 230 mortars were mounted. 3 The bombardment 
from these batteries was opened on the 8th Sha‘ban (27th September), 
and for eight days and nights it continued without a break. 4 * The walls 
were breached in several places, but the defenders, working with desperate 
energy, always managed to repair them before the Persians could force 
their way through. Much mining and counter-mining went on, 6 
and no fewer than seven general assaults and five subsidiary attacks 
were delivered by the besiegers. Once, when a wide breach in the walls 
had been made by a mine, the Persians rushed impetuously forward to the. 
attack, carrying with them 1,700 scaling ladders, but the defenders, with 
the courage of despair, drove them off with heavy loss. 6 The Christian 
element of the population played a most important part in the defence 

1 Stanhope Aspmwen to Whitehall, 5th/i6th October, 1743 (S.P. 97, Vol. XXXXII), and 
von Hammer, Vol. XV, p. 69. 

1 Letter from the Constantinople correspondent of the Daily Post , published in that paper- 
on the 30th November, 1743* 

•Von Hammer, Vol. XV, pp. 70 and 71. 

•The number of cannon bans and bombs fired into Mosul during the siege is estimated by- 
Niebuhr (Reisebeschreibung, Vol. II, p. 367) at 40,000, by the Turkish official account at. 
60,000 and by Sulaiman $a*igh [op. at, p. 284) at no less than 100,000. 

• Owing to their lack of skill, the Persian engineers did, on the whole, considerably more harm 

to their own side than they did to the Turks, as the majority of their mines exploded 
backwards. The Turks axe said to have had the services of a capable engineer from Con- 
stantinople (see C. J. Rich's Narrative of a Residence in Koordistan and of the Site of Ancient 
Nineveh, London, 1836, Vol. II, p. 46). 

* Turkish official account. 



THE TURKISH WAR 


231 

of the city, and were afterwards given special privileges in reward for their 
services. 1 * * A legend was afterwards current that the Persian forces were 
dispersed by the miraculous interposition of St. George, St. Matthew and 
the Prophet Jonah, “ who suddenly appeared among them armed and 
mounted.”* 

On the 22nd Sha'ban (nth October) Nadir received the serious news 
that a pretender of obscure origin who called himself Sam Mirza* and 
Muhammad, the son of Surkhai, with a force of Lazgis, had captured and 
afterwards put to death the Governor of Shirvan, between Shamakhi and 
Shabaran. 4 Soon after hearing of this uprising, he received the further 
disquieting news that another pretender, the self-styled “ Safi Mirza ” 
(alias Muhammad ‘Ali Rafsinjani), whose cause the Turks had espoused, 
was marching from Erzeroum via Qars to the Persian frontier. 5 * 

It was, apparently, while the siege of Mosul was in progress that 
messengers arrived at the Persian camp from Turkistan stating that 
merchants from Tashkend and others from China ( Chin va Ma-Ckin) had 
reached Chaijui with the news that “ Mangu Qa’an, the King of China,” 
ha-ring heard of the rise and progress of Nadir, was collecting troops and 
preparing for war against him. 5 The King, they said, was sending 
messages to the rulers of Khotan and Khitai requesting them to prepare 
to resist Nadir, should he attempt to enter their territories. As Nadir 
had, according to Muhammad Kazim, the intention of invading Khitai 
after having effected the conquest of Turkey, he ordered vast quantities 
of war material of all kinds 7 to be collected and sent to Merv, so as to be 
in readiness for the Khitai expedition when the appropriate time came. 

The news of the activities of Sam Mirza and Safi Mirza, together with 
the knowledge that his troops were becoming disheartened by their heavy 
losses and lack of success, caused Nadir to make overtures to Husain 


1 Niebuhr, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 361, Sulaiman §a'jgh, p. 289. 

•Rich, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 46. 

•This pretender claimed to be one of the numerous progeny of Shah Sultan Husain, but 
Muhammad Mnfrsin does not mention any son of that monarch bearing the name of Sam 
in the extensive genealogical data of the later Safavis which he gives in his Zubdatv’t- 

Tawarikh. 

•For details of this revolt, see the ensuing chapter. 

•Von Hammer, Vol. XV, p. 71. For the antecedents of this pretender, see p. 48 above. 

* N.N., p. 49. Professor Minorsky, whom I have consulted as to this passage of the Naiir- 
Nama, is of opinion that " Mangu Qa’an ” stands for T‘ien-Txu, “ the Son of Heaven ’* 
(= Chien-lung), who reigned from 1735 until his abdication 60 years later. As Muha mma d 
Ka?im states in the next sentence that the Emperor was sending messages to the rulers 
of Khotan and Khitai, it is evident that China was not at that time at war with them 
(it was not until 1758 that the Chinese entered Dzungaria, and four years elapsed before 
their occupation of the country was complete). 

T Ibid., pp. 49 and 50. Large quantities of lead for making shot and a number of loads of copper 
for the casting of cannon and mortars were amongst the material ordered. There bang 
no fuel for the foundary in the Merv district, charcoal was to be brought from the Upper 
Murghab and from Maruchaq. 



NADIR SHAH 


232 

Pasha for a cessation of hostilities . 1 The Turkish commander at first 
rejected these proposals, but on fresh overtures being made, he agreed 
to negotiate. Costly gifts were then exchanged, ana Nadir agreed to 
raise the siege if Husain Pasha would forward his peace proposals to 
Constantinople. At this juncture, Muhammad Aqa arrived with a letter 
from the Sultan stating that he placed no reliance upon Nadir’s friendship 
and brotherly feeling because of his violation of the Turkish frontier ; 
if, however, he would retire to the borders of Persia, he could there discuss 
with Ahmad Pasha the questions at issue . 2 * 

Agreeing to this proposal, Nadir and his army left Mosul for Kirkuk 
and Qara Tappa on the 2 nd Ramadan (20th October) ; once more he 
had displayed his weakness in siege operations. Leaving the bulk of 
his army and all his baggage at Qara Tappa, he set out with only a small 
escort to visit the holy shrines of Mesopotamia . 8 Thus began another 
phase of the extraordinary relations between Persia and Turkey during 
this period ; all this while, as will be seen below, the siege of Basra was 
in progress. 

After being met by Muhammad Aqa and other notables, who brought 
him presents from Ahmad Pasha, Nadir proceeded to Kazimain, where he 
visited the shrines of the Imams Musa al-Kazim and Muhammad Taqi , 4 * 
so venerated by the Shi'a. He then re-crossed the Tigris, in a barge of 
state furnished by Ahmad Pasha, and went to the tomb of Abu Hanifa, 
at Mu 4 azzam . 6 On the 1st Shawwal (x 8 th November) he proceeded to 
Karbala, where he performed the circumambulation (tawaf) of the shrine. 
His wife, Radiyya Begum, a daughter of Shah Sultan Husain, gave 20,000 
nadtrts for the repairing of the sacred building.® 

Later in the month Nadir journeyed to Najaf via Hilla, where he con- 
vened a great assembly of the ‘ulama of Persia, Afghanistan, Balkh and 
Bukhara on the one hand, and of the Holy Cities of Mesopotamia on the 
other, in order to discuss and settle the religious question . 7 In order, 


1 According to Mirza Mahdi {T.N., p. 241), Husain Pasha, in despair of holding out longer, 
■was the first to make overtures, but thus appears to be incorrect. 

* T.N., p. 241. 'Abdullah ibn Husain as-Suwaidi of Baghdad (who was a contemporary of 

Nadir), in his Kitab al-Hujjaj al-Qat'iyya liittifaq al-Firaq al-Islamiyya (which was pub- 
lished in Cairo in 1906), mentions this message and adds that the Sultan said that the 
claim for the Ja’fari sect must be dropped. See Professor A. E. Schmidt’s Jx Istorii 
Sunnitsko-Shiitskikh Otnoshenii in V. V. Barthold’s Festschrift, entitled ‘Iqdu’l- Juman, 
Tashkend, 1927, p. 83. 

' T.N., p. 241. 

4 The seventh and ninth, respectively, of the Shi‘a Tmama 

* T.N., p. 241. 

* According to Mirza Mahdi, Nadir visited Karbala on the 1st Shawwal, after having been at 

Najaf (TM., p. 246), but, as it is stated by as-Suwaidi (Schmidt, op. cit., p. 95) that the 
meeting of ‘wama at Najaf took place on the 24th Shawwal, the visit to Karbala must 
have preceded the meeting. 

* TJ 7 ., p. 241. 



THE TURKISH WAR 


233 

no doubt, to predispose the local divines in his favour, he gave orders 
for the dome of the shrine of *AH at Najaf to be gilded. 1 * * * * * * 

By far the fullest and most interesting account of these religious dis- 
cussions is that given by the Turkish-Arabian divine, ‘Abdullah ibn 
Husain as-Suwaidi. Ahmad Pasha sent ‘Abdullah to Nadir in order to 
assist in the task of reconciling the conflicting religious elements in Persia. 8 
‘Abdullah, on being received by Nadir, conversed with the Shah in the 
Turkoman dialect (presumably, Turk! or Eastern Turkish). Nadir 
requested ‘Abdullah to render assistance in removing “ disloyalty ” 
(i.e., nonconformity with the Sunni code), and requested him not to take 
part as a disputant, but to act as umpire, to take note of everything and 
to report fully thereon to Ahmad Pasha. On the conclusion of the 
audience, ‘Abdullah met *Ali Akbar, the Persian Mulla-Bashi, with whom 
he had a long informal discussion on the text of the Qur’an and the 
traditions. ‘Abdullah, who was a staunch Sunni, found ‘Ali Akbar 
irreconcilable on certain doctrinal points. On the following day (24th 
Shawwal = 12th December, 1743) the 'ulama assembled; there were 
70 Persian clergy and a group of Afghans and another of Bukharans. 
‘Abdullah as-Suwaidi, as arranged, was umpire, and ‘Ali Akbar and a 
Bukharan mulla were the chief spokesmen. It soon became clear that 
Nadir had carefully arranged matters beforehand with ‘Ali Akbar and the 
other Persians, because, when the Mulla-Bashi was cross-questioned 
as to the alleged Persian “ disloyalty,” he was most deferential and gave 
expression to completely orthodox views. Finally, agreement was 
reached between the Persians and the two groups of Bukharan and Afghan 
divines. On the next day all the ‘ ulama , together with those of Najaf, 
signed a document setting forth the terms of the Persians’ undertaking, 
and ‘Abdullah as-Suwaidi then signed and sealed it in his capacity as 
umpire. In this document the religious policy of Shah Isma‘il and his 
successors was deplored, the legitimacy of the first three Caliphs was 
recognised, as was also the true descent of Ja‘faru’s-Sadiq from the 
Prophet. Lastly, the right of the Persians to recognition as belonging to 
the Ja'fari sect was affirmed. 8 

After the ‘ ulama had completed their deliberations and issued their 

1 A wording to Muhammad Ka?im (N.N., p. 72), Nadir wished to adorn the dome of ‘Ali’s 

shrine at Najaf in the same manner as that of the Imam Rida at Mashhad. The work 

of regilding the dome was not completed when William Beawes visited Najaf in August, 

1745, " He regarded as surprising ^the conduct of the Turks of this place who, tho’ at 

war with Persia and always abominating that sect (the Shi' a), have nevertheless thro’ 

fear or superstition refrained from any attempt on this unguarded deposit of riches. The 
King of Persia has here a Chan as well in reverence to the holy place as to inspect the work, 
which is not as yet finished. ...” See Beawes’ s Narrative of 0 Tourney from Aleppo to 
Basra in 1745 (Hakluyt Society, London, 1928. No. LXIXI, p. 23). 

‘Trofessor Schmidt, op. cit., pp. 83-100. 

* T.N., p. 246. 



NADIR SHAH 


234 

manifesto, Nadir's wife, Gauhar Shad, the mother of the princes Nasrullah 
and Imam Quli, gave the sum of 100,000 nadiris for the repairing of the 
walls and tilework of the shrine, and presented a jewelled censer and another 
of gold for use therein . 1 

In the meanwhile, Nadir and Ahmad Pasha had been discussing the 
terms of peace, and had reached agreement on its terms at the end of 
November or beginning of December . 2 The full text of this treaty does 
not appear to have been preserved, but there seems to be no doubt that it 
showed no abatement of Nadir’s religious demands ; on the other hand, 
Mirza Mahdi states that it provided for the return to Turkey of Kirkuk, 
Arbil, Qurna and other fortresses that had fallen into the Persians’ hands. 
One can only conjecture what Nadir’s real intentions were when he drew 
up this treaty with Ahmad Pasha ; it seems most probable that his main 
object was merely to “ amuse ” 8 the Porte and so gain time until the rising 
in north-west Persia had been suppressed, when he would fling his full 
weight against the Turks on the borders of Anatolia. In view of his 
previous experience of the Turkish attitude on the question of the Ja'fari 
sect, he could have had little or no expectation that the treaty would be 
acceptable in its entirety to the Porte. The manner in which the treaty 
was received in Constantinople and the subsequent action by Turkey 
will be described in Chapter XXV. 

Having arrived at his provisional settlement with Ahmad Pasha, Nadir 
gave instructions forthwith for the siege of Basra to be raised ; a description 
of this siege must now be given. 

The operations in the south of Mesopotamia were not conducted with 
the same vigour as those in the north. When Nadir had started on his 
march against Kirkuk and Mosul, he had, as already mentioned, appointed 
Qoja Khan Shaikhanlu, of the Chamishgazak tribe, to the command of 
the forces which were to advance on Basra . 4 Qoja Khan, together with 
the Governor of Hawiza and Salman (who was also known as Sulaiman), 
the well-known chief of the Ka‘ab Arabs 5 (who had recently moved into 
Persian territory round Dauraq, and had become Persian subjects), 
prepared to make a joint advance on Basra from Hawiza. 

p. 246. 

1 Ibid., p. 247. 

* This expression is taken from Stanhope AspinwelTs despatch from Constantinople to White- 
hall, dated the 14th /25th January, 1744 ; reports had already reached the Turkish capital 
that there had been 11 some Parley between the Shaugh and Achmet Bashaw . - . which 
has ended in the Shaugh’s consenting to enlarge the Blockade (of Baghdad) and retire a 
little, which the Bashaw required of him as a kind of preliminary on his Part towards an 
Accommodation. . . " (S.P. 97, Vol. XXXII). 

« p. 239. 

•See Sayyid Ahmad Kasrawi's Ta’rikh-i-Panj Sad Sala-yi-Khuzistan (Tehran, 1931 /i93 2 )»- 
p. 1x9. In 1740 the Ka'ab tribe had migrated into purely Persian territory, in the neigh- 
bourhood, of Dauraq and the Jarrahi river, where they occupied lands which had, up till 
then, been in the hands of the Khuzistan branch of the Afshax tribe. 



THE TURKISH WAR 


On the 1 6th July two messengers from the Governor of Hawiza 
reached Basra, with a demand for the surrender of the town, failing 
which the Persian forces would come and carry out a general massacre. 1 
Rustam Aqa, the Mutasallim (Deputy Governor), after conferring with 
his advisers for some days, rejected this demand, whereupon the Persian 
forces began their advance towards the frontier. Their approach to Turk- 
ish soil encouraged the Muntafiq and Bani Lam Arabs, who for years 
past had been in intermittent revolt against the Turks, to rebel and join 
forces with the enemy. Rustam Aqa dispatched a galley and some tran- 
keys to prevent the Persians and their allies from crossing to the west 
bank of the Shattu’l-Arab, but the invaders nevertheless succeeded in 
crossing in boats which they had had built at Hawiza.® On the 28 th 
August/ 8th September the Persians began the siege of the town.* 

As soon as Thomas Dorrill, the Resident of the East India Co. at 
Basra, heard of the threatened Persian attack, he ordered a small 
brigantine belonging to the Company that was then anchored off 
the town to slip away quietly by night and go to Qarif. He feared 
that, if the vessel remained, the Turks would seize her and employ her 
against the Persians, as they had done in the case of the two Company 
ships at Basra in 1735. When the Mutasallim discovered that the 
brigantine had gone, he accused Dorrill of being in league with the 
Persians. Unluckily, the crew (who were mostly Basra lascars) of the vessel 
mutinied before she had proceeded far, and forced the master to bring her 
back. The Mutasallim was as delighted at this turn of events as Dorrill 
was the reverse, and demanded the handing over of the vessel. On 
Dorrill refusing, Rustam Aqa had him seized and placed for forty-eight 
hours in a tent situated on the walls of the town, under a guard of Janis- 
saries, and then spread stories of DorrilPs sympathy with the Persians, 
with the result that his life and that of his assistant, Danvers Graves, 
were in great danger from the exasperated soldiery.* Dorrill, feeling that 
death would assuredly be their portion unless he agreed to surrender the 
vessel, at last gave his consent, but he managed to convey a message to 
the master that he must destroy her at all hazards. The master accord- 

1 Letter from Thomas Dorrill, the Resident at Ba§ra, to the East India Co., London, dated the 
2oth/3ist August, 1743. 

* T.N., p. 239. 

* This is the date given by Dorrill in a further letter to London dated the 7pi /18th April, 1744. 
M. Martineau, on the authority of documents in the Pondichery archives, gives the oate 
as the 29th August {Old Style), while the record of the Basra Carmelites puts it four days 
further back (see the Continuatio domestic a Bassorensis histories ab anno 1733, in the 
Analecta Ordinis Carmelitarum DiscaJceatorum, Vol. VIII, Fasc. I, p. 66. (Rome, 1933). 
‘Dorrill and Graves, in a letter to Gombroon dated the 7th /18th December, 1743, said that 
when the Persian Sardar and the Beglarbegi heard of the ill-treatment to which they were 
being subjected, they ordered their soldiers to call out to the Mutasallim " if he was not 
ashamed to treat strangers in such a manner who came into their country as Merchants, 
and not to fight ” ( Gombroon Diary , 17th /28th January, 1744). 



NADIR SHAH 


236 

ingly bored holes in the bottom of the brigantine, and pretended that she 
had sprung a leak. When the Turks perceived that the vessel was in a 
sinking condition, they consented to her being run ashore. Dorrill 
was then released, but his troubles were by no means over because he 
and the other Europeans in Basra were made to furnish arms, levy soldiery 
and provide horses at their own expense. 

The Persians, who were from 1 2,000 to r 5,000 strong, 1 erected a number 
of batteries round the town, but they were handicapped at first because 
they had no heavy artillery. They applied to Nadir for some cannon 
of heavier calibre, but these did not arrive until the 27th November.* 
Some attacks on a small scale were launched, but all failed, and a more 
serious assault was repulsed on the 1 8th October. Some damage was done 
by the artillery fire, and a few cannon-balls struck the French Consulate 
and the Carmelites’ caravanserai ; during the last eleven days of the 
siege, when the Persians had their heavy artillery, the town was bom- 
barded day and night. On the night of the 6th December the cannonade 
was further intensified, and the Persians made another attack, but the 
Turks were again successful in withstanding them. 8 The Carmelites 
were of opinion that the place would have fallen if a really determined 
assault had been made, 4 and the same result might have been achieved 
if the Persian fleet could have co-operated with the land forces. 6 

On the evening of the 8 th December messengers arrived from 
Nadir and Ahmad Pasha ordering the fighting to cease, as a treaty had 
been signed. The gates of Basra were then flung open, and compli- 
ments and presents passed between the Turkish commanders and 
officials on the one hand, and the Sardar (Qoja Khan) and the Governor 
of Hawiza on the other. The Governor of Hawiza sent a “ Complaisant 
Message ” to Dorrill “ for his suffering so much on their Account,” and 
asked him and Graves to visit the Persian camp, but Dorrill thought it 
politic to offer excuses and to send a present instead.® On the 16th 
December the Persian army marched away to Hawiza, while the com- 
manding officers went to Najaf, to report to Nadir. 7 


‘DorriU’s letter to London of the 7th /i 8th April, and Maxtineau, op. cit., p. 422. The Car- 
melite chronicle, however, states that the Persians numbered 30,000, " non numeratis 
tribus valisimis (sic) Montefic ac Beni Lam nationibus.” 

* Letter from Dorrill to Gombroon, dated the 7th /18th December, 1743 (quoted in the Gombroon 

Diary in full ten days later). 

‘Maxtineau, op. di., p. 423. 

* Continuatio aomestica Bassorensis historic, pp. 66 and 67. 

* Nadir is said to have wished to employ his fleet in the attack on Basra (see Martineau, op. cit., 

p. 422) ; it is not known whether he actually sent orders for the fleet, or at any rate part 
of it, to leave $ohax where it then was. If such orders were sent, they were disregarded 
toy Taqi Khan who was then on the verge of revolt (see Chapter XXXV). 

' DorrQTs letter to London of the 7th/i8th April. 

* Gombrtxm Diary, 17th /28th January, 1744. 



THE TURKISH WAR 2 37 

Having come to terms with Ahmad Pasha and sent orders to his com- 

cifu e l S m s , 0Util to raise the sie g e of Basra, Nadir proceeded to 
bnahraban with the apparent intention of waiting there until the Porte 
made known its attitude towards the treaty. Ahmad Pasha had sent 
ms Kahya Muhammad Aqa to Constantinople with the document as 
soon as it had been signed, but before he could reach his destination 
(he arrived at the Turkish capital in the middle of February, 174.4) 
Nadir received alarming reports of revolts in various parts of Persia! 
iiie Shah therefore decided to cross the frontier without further delay, 
and left Shahraban for Mahidasht and Kirmanshah on the 30th January. 1 

1 T.S., p. 249. 



CHAPTER XXIII 


Revolts in Persia, 1743-1744 

Nadir made a terrible mistake when, instead of drawing upon his vasi 
treasures at Kalat for the financing of his wars against the Lazgis and the 
Turks, he revoked the three years’ tax immunity that he had granted tc 
his long-suffering people and then proceeded to grind money and pro- 
visions out of them even more relentlessly and ruthlessly than before. 
Moreover, the drain upon his people was not only financial and economic ; 
it had also to be reckoned in terms of human lives. Such sacrifices had 
gladly been made so long as Nadir was waging a war of liberation for his 
people, but a change naturally occurred in their feelings when he, having 
restored all the lost Persian territory, continued to fight merely to satisfy 
his ambition. 

In the long and arduous Daghistan campaign, many thousands of 
Persians had perished without any tangible result being attained. Then 
came the resumption of the Turkish war which entailed the raising of 
vast sums of money and which bade fair to cost the lives of many thousands 
more of Nadir’s people. It is difficult to conceive of any Persian feeling 
the slightest enthusiasm for that purely artificial creation, the Ja'fari sect, 
which was the chief bone of contention between the two countries ; what 
the people wanted was peace, in order that they might recover from their 
war-weariness and resume their agricultural and commercial pursuits. 
It is not therefore in the least surprising that the long-slumbering discon- 
tent at last broke out into flame in 1743 and the following year, manifesting 
itself in a series of outbreaks in different parts of the country. 

The first revolt to break out occurred in the turbulent districts of 
Darband and Tabarsaran. Some time previously the pretender, Sam 
Mirza, 1 had appeared in Ardabil, but his attempts to gather supporters 
had been speedily frustrated by Nadir’s nephew, Ibrahim Khan, 8 the 
commander of the troops in Adharbaijan at that time, who had captured 
the pretender, and, having cut off his nose, had set him free ; Sam had 
then fled to Daghistan. 

1 See p. 231 above. 

* He was originally called Muhammad 'Ali Beg, but Nadir, after his brother’s death in 1738, 
gave him the name of Ibrahim; see the N.N., p. 257, and the T.N., p. 247. Hanway, 
in recounting these events, mistakes the younger Ibr ahim for his father ; see Vol. IV, p. 241, 
of his Trcaelc 

238 



REVOLTS IN PERSIA, 1743-1744 239 

As the Shah’s muha?si/s had been particularly active in the north- 
western provinces in the spring and early summer of 1743, discontent 
was both serious and widespread there. * Feeling that his moment had 
come and believing, no doubt, that his pretended Safavi lineage would 
gain him many adherents, Sam emerged from his hiding-place and strove 
to incite the people of Darband and Tabarsaran to rebel ; he also wrote 
to the disaffected elements in Shirvan, urging them to join him. 
Muhammad ‘Ali Khan, the Governor of Darband, reported Sam’s activities 
to Nadir, who ordered Gaidar Khan, the Governor of Shirvan, to march 
northwards to Muhammad ‘Ali Khan’s assistance. Meanwhile, Sam 
had been joined by Surkhai’s son Muhammad, who had been in hiding 
in Avaria ; the two leaders then marched against Haidar Khan, whom 
they encountered near Shabaran before he could effect a junction with 
Muhammad ‘Ali Khan’s forces. The rebels were victorious, and suc- 
ceeded in capturing Gaidar Khan, whom they put to death ; they then 
seized Aq Su, the administrative centre of Shirvan. 1 This success led, 
as was natural, to an extension of the rising, and Sam and Muhammad 
were soon at the head of some 20,000 men. Encouraged by this news, 
some Mughanli soldiers, who formed part of the garrison of Qubba, 
murdered the loyal troops (who were Afshars), and handed over the place 
to Sam and Muhammad. 2 On these serious developments being reported 
to Nadir, he ordered ‘Ashur Khan Afshar, the commander of the Adhar- 
baijan forces, to co-operate with the Governors of Urumiya and Ganja 
in suppressing the rebellion, and instructed his son Nasrullah and his 
brother-in-law, Fath ‘Ali Khan, also to march against the rebels. The 
formidable concentration of forces under these leaders encountered the 
rebels at Bagh-i-Shah near Shamakhi on the 4th Dhu’l-Qa‘da, 1156 
(20th December, 1743), and heavily defeated them. The royal army 
captured over a thousand men and all the rebels’ cannon, but Muhammad, 
though wounded, managed to escape to Daghistan, while Sam fled to 
Georgia. 8 In the meanwhile, Muhammad ‘Ali Khan had taken effective 
measures against the Mughanlis of Qubba ; he killed many of them 
and, having captured and blinded the survivors, sent them to their homes 
as a warning. 4 On completing the subjugation of Shirvan and the Darband 
district, Nasrullah set out to join his father ; when the prince was passing 

* r..V„ pp. 247 and 248 ; X.Y., pp. 257-263. 

1 7 \.V., p. 247. The Mughanlis were a tribe inhabiting the Qaniq district, in close proximity 
to jar and Tala. 

* Ibid., p. 248 (in the Bombay edition, the month is wrongly given as Dhu’l-Hijja). See also 

the N.N., p. 266. 

4 Ibid., p. 248. Muhammad Kazim states (-V..V., p. 261) that Muhammad 'Ali Khan sent the 
wretched men’s eyes, weighing 14 Tabrizi maunds (91 lbs.) with them, as an additional 
warning to their fellow tribespeople not to rebel. 



240 


NADIR SHAH 


through the Qarabagh district, one of the followers of Surkhai’s son 
Muhammad made an unsuccessful attempt on his life. 1 

Whilst this revolt was in progress, Giv Amilakhor, the Eristav of Ksan, 
rebelled. Georgia, like Shirvan and indeed all the other provinces of 
Persia, was in a very disturbed state, 2 and Giv Amilakhor had little difficulty 
in collecting a large number of malcontents ; he was also joined by 
Circassian and Ossetian tribesmen from the northern Caucasus. For 
some little time Giv and his followers seriously menaced Tifiis, but, 
luckily for Nadir, Taimuraz and his son Irakli remained loyal, and took the 
field against Giv. A few days after his disaster at Bagh-i-Shah, the fugitive 
Sam Mirza reached the Georgian rebels, but his ill-luck still pursued him, 
for, on the 14th Dhu’l-Qa‘da (30th December, 1743), Taimuraz defeated 
Giv and his followers at Akhal-Kalaki (“ New Town ”), in Upper Kartli, 
and captured the pretender when he was trying to escape to the Turks 3 ; 
what occurred to him subsequently will be described in the ensuing 
chapter. 

When Nadir reached Qasr-i-Shirin on his march from Shahraban to 
Kurdistan, chapars reached him from Khwarizm with the news that serious 
trouble had broken out there. As already stated, Nadir had appointed 
the youthful Abu’l-Ghazi, Ilbars’s son, ruler of Khwarizm, and had 
made Irtaq Inaq his chief minister. 4 For a time all was peaceful, but the 
Yamut Turkomans, whom Nadir had severely defeated, and who had 
fled to Manqishlak and the Qipchaq plains, later made their way back 
to Khwarizm and proceeded to attack the Ozbegs. Irtaq Inaq marched 
against the Yamuts and managed to arrive at an understanding with 
them ; as the danger seemed over, he gave leave to many of his Arali 
supporters, whereupon the treacherous Yamuts, having gained access 
to Abu’l-Ghazi, poisoned his mind against his chief minister! At this 
juncture, the Salor Turkomans rebelled, and they also strove to sow 
dissension between Abu’l-Ghazi and Irtaq Inaq ; the result was that the 
credulous youth ordered his Qalmuq guards to murder the minister. 5 
Great disorders then broke out in Khwarizm, as the Salor and Yamut 
leaders strove for supremacy ; although the local Ozbegs joined the 
Salors, they were unable to prevent the Yamuts from ravaging the country 
and raiding Khiva, Khanqa, Hazarasp and Yengi Urgench. It being 

1 N*N., p, 263. 

1 Having endured the ravages of the Lazgis, the Georgians then had to yield up to Nadir's pitiless 
tnuha$sils most of their few remaining possessions. 

•Papouna Orbelian (in H. de la G. t Vol. II, p. 80) ; T.N., p. 251 ; N*N., p. 266. Muhammad 
Kazim seems to have taken most of his information from the T a’nkh-i-Nadiri, because ■ 
there is a striking simil arity between the corresponding passages of the two works, 

*See p. 2n, note 6, above. 

pp. 85-87. Muhammad Karim adds (pp. 87 and 88) that two offici al s inAbul-Ghari's 
service informed him that Irtaq Inaq was murdered after a drunken orgy in Abu'l-Ghari’s 
palace. 



241 


REVOLTS IN PERSIA, 1743-1744 

impossible for agriculture or indeed an y other pursuit to be carried on, 
Abu’l-Ghazi was constrained to appeal to Nadir for aid. The Shah 
ordered his nephew ‘Ali Quli Khan to go from Mashhad, where he then 
was, to Abu’I-Ghazi’s assistance. 1 As it was not until the following year 
(1745) that ‘Ali Quli Khan was able to restore order in Khwarizm, par- 
ticulars of his operations there will be given subsequently. 8 

Far more serious than the revolt in Daghistan and Shirvan and the 
upheaval in Khwarizm was the rebellion of Taqi Khan Shirazi. The 
Beglarbegi is said to have become puffed up with pride after his capture 
of Muscat 3 ; he knew that the Shah was displeased with him and suspected 
him, and when the order came for his recall from ‘Oman, he decided to 
revolt. He believed that, with the influence which he imagined that he 
possessed in Fars and the Gulf coast, together with the support of the 
fleet, he would be strong enough to resist his formidable master. 

It has already been stated how Taqi Khan, on reaching Gombroon 
from Muscat early in December, 1743, murdered Kalb ‘Ali Khan after 
the latter had refused to take part in the rebellion. 4 He then endeavoured 
to win over Rustam Khan, the commander of the portion of the fleet 
then lying off Gombroon (which had just been augmented by the arrival 
of eight new ships from Surat), but the commander declined to throw 
in his lot with him and sailed away. 6 

On the 1 6th January, 1744, Taqi Khan, having openly rebelled, set 
out from his camp near Gombroon for Shiraz, at the head of 2,500 men. 4 
On the news of the revolt becoming known in Fars, the tribespeople rose, 
killed Nadir’s muha$$ils wherever they could lay hands upon them, and 
flocked to join Taqi Khan. 

When Nadir received word of this rebellion, he urgently recalled 
Muliammad Husain Khan Qiriqlu, the commander of the Persian forces 
in ‘Oman. Having collected such troops as he could, Muhammad 
Husain Khan hastened after Taqi Khan, and at Fasa managed to overtake 
him ; however, instead of attacking the rebels, the Sardar fell back to 
Kazarun, presumably because he found that he was out-numbered by 
them. 7 The way being clear, Taqi Khan marched on to Shiraz where 
he set himself up as an independent ruler. 

In the meantime, troops whom Nadir had hurriedly dispatched to the 
south had reached Muhammad Husain Khan, while others soon joined 

1 N.N., p. gi. 

1 See p. 245 below. 

’Niebuhr's Besckreibung, p. 301. 

* See p. 218 above. 

* Gombroon, Diary, 20th /31st December, 1743. 

•Ibid., 30th December, 1743 /10th January, 1744. 

* Mirza Mohammad Sturari's Rvxnama, p. 18. 



NADIR SHAH 


242 

him from Khuzistan, Kirman and Khurasan 1 ; these reinforcements 
included many jazayirchis , and had with them a number of cannon and 
zayburaks, so that the Sardar was before long at the head of a very formidable 
force, numbering, it is said, over 40,000 men. 2 

It is related that Nadir, despite his anger at Taqi Khan’s murder of 
his brother-in-law and his subsequent recourse to arms, sent Mirza 
Muhammad ‘AH, the Sadru’l-Mamalik, to endeavour to conciliate him, 
the explanation of this move being that Nadir had once sworn not to take 
his life. 8 As these conciliatory tactics proved to be of no avail, Muhammad 
Husain Khan proceeded to invest Shiraz closely. The rebels defended 
themselves bravely, and, although greatly outnumbered by the besiegers, 
held out for four and a half months. According to Muhammad Kazim, 
the besiegers launched a very determined attack on the 20th Jumadi I, 
1157 (21st June, 1744), and forced the rebels to capitulate 4 ; the town 
was then sacked, every house being pillaged and many of the inhabitants 
being put to the sword. Two towers of human heads were erected, 
and the lovely gardens surrounding the town were devastated ; to add 
to these horrors, plague broke out after the siege and carried off 14,000 
people. 5 

In the confusion that followed the entry of the royal forces into Shiraz, 
Taqi Khan and his eldest son managed to escape, but they were soon 
captured and sent, together with the rest of his family, under strong guard 
to Isfahan. 6 Muhammad Kazim relates that, at Nadir’s orders, a mock 
istiqbal 1 was staged when the prisoners reached the outskirts of Isfahan ; 
Taqi Khan was mounted on an ass and had a fox’s brush fastened to his 
head, and he and his family were met by a mob beating drums and uttering 
derisory cries. 8 

But for his vow, Nadir would doubtless have put Taqi Khan to death 
immediately ; as it was, his treatment of his former favourite was infinitely 
more terrible. He sent orders to Isfahan for three of the Khan’s sons 
and one of his brothers to be killed and for the members of their families 

‘Henry Savage, the East India Company's representative at Kirman, wrote to Gombroon 
on the 25th March /5th April, 1744, that 3,000 troops from " Corasoon ” (Khurasan) had 
passed through the town on their way to join the royal forces besieging Shiraz. Savage 
added that the country round Kirman was thrown into great confusion by the revolt, and 
that the roads were so infested by robbers that his messengers feared to venture out ; see 
_ the Gombroon Diary, 4th /15th April, 1744. 

* Mirza Muhammad Shlrazi’s Ruznama, p. 18. 

* Ibid., p. 19. Hanway (Vol. IV, p. 244) also states that Nadir had taken an oath not to put 

Taqi Khan to death. 

* N.N., p, 122. 

‘ Mirza Muhammad Shirazi, op. cit., pp. 19 and 20 ; this authority was an eye-witness of these 
events. 
t'-toid. 

’ The ceremony of setting forth from a town to meet a distinguished visitor. 

N.N., pp. 132 and 133. 




The mock Istiqbae of Taqi Khan Shirazi and his Son at Isfahan, after 

their Defeat and Capture 


Reproduced jrum the MS. *\ffhc XaJtr-Xama by kin*i permission *// ike 
l \?it*jkoveJen tya , / cnir.gr ad 








REVOLTS IN PERSIA, 1743-1744 243 

to be sold as slaves. The unfortunate man was then castrated and deprived 
of the sight of one of his eyes, and his favourite wife was given over to 
the soldiery in his presence ; he had doubtless been left the sight of one 
eye so that he might witness this crowning insult. 1 * What is most aston- 
ishing is that Taqi Khan was able before very long to reassert his myster- 
ious influence over Nadir and to win his way back into the royal favour, 
with the result that he was appointed Mustaufi al-Mamalik (Treasurer- 
General of the Kingdom) and Beglarbegi of the province of Kabul, while 
the surviving members of his family were released from slavery.* 

As Muhammad Husain Khan’s troops had not received any pay for 
several months, money had to be raised as promptly as possible to pay 
them. Couriers were dispatched from Shiraz to Gombroon with in- 
structions to collect 4,000 tomans there within three days. These men 
“ immediately went to drubbing the Banians and Merchants that refused 
the Tax laid upon them,” 3 and many persons fled from the town in order 
to escape from this persecution. There were similar exactions at Isfahan, 
and the “ linguist ” and broker of the East India Company there were 
imprisoned, and the broker was forced to give a bond for 2,000 tomans. 
The muha$?ils then demanded 3,000 tomans from Peirson, the Company’s 
Resident there, and threatened him with imprisonment if he refused to 
pay ; in the end he managed to avoid arrest by paying 460 tomans. 
Similar pressure was put upon the Dutch, while the Armenians were com- 
pelled to pay 1,000 tomans. 4 Peirson subsequently reported that these 
onerous exactions so impoverished the community that it became most 
difficult to collect money owing to the Company ; its merchants had had, 
he said, to hand over no less than 4,500 tomans to the nwha§$ils* 

Practically at the same time as Taqi Khan rebelled, the Ashaqbash 
Qajar Muhammad Hasan Khan, who was one of the sons of the late 
Fath "Ali Khan, headed a revolt in the province of Astarabad. Aided by 
1,000 Yamut Turkomans and by some 2,000 Qajars and others who rose 
in his favour, he gained possession of the town of Astarabad cm the 28th 
January, 1744.® Muhammad Zaman Khan, the Deputy Governor, 

1 Hanway, Vol. IV, p. 243 ; Mirza Muframmad Shinud, op. dt., p. 20 ; Niebuhr’s Btschrmbung, 
p. 302. 

■ N.N., pp. 132 and 133 ; see also B am, op. cit., p. 297* 

' Gombroon Diary, ist/i2th July, 1744. 

4 Ibid., 6th /17th July (quoting from a letter from Peirson from Isfahan, dated the nth /a 2nd 
June). 

Ibid., 5th /16th October (quoting from an Isfahan letter of the 24th August /4th September). 
* The particulars of this revolt are taken in the main from the very full and interesting first-hand 
account given by Hanway, who had the misfortune to arrive in Astarabad a few days before 
the outbreak: occurred. Although not badly treated by Muhammad Hasan Khan and the 
other rebel leaders, he was in danger of being carried off as a slave by the Yamut Turkomans, 
and all his goods were seized. After spending some days in great uncertainty as to his fate, 
Hanway managed to leave Astarabad and made his way with difficulty to Gi l a n , where he 
met Elton and some other Europeans. 



NADIR SHAH 


244 

who was a son of the Yokharibash Qajar chief, Muhammad Husain Khan, 
fled from the town on finding that his forces were incapable of resistance. 
If he had fallen into Muhammad Hasan Khan’s hands, he would almost 
certainly have been put to death, because his father had played a prominent 
part in the murder of Fatli ‘Ali Khan in 1726. 

The rebels had previously been in touch with the Governor of the 
neighbouring province of Mazandaran, but this man, when asked to take 
up arms in support of the rising in Astarabad, informed the rebels in reply 
“ that they might sleep in the bed which they had made.” 1 Hanway states, 
that Muhammad I^asan Khan had also been in correspondence with 
Sam Mirza, but this led to nothing, because the pretender was defeated 
and captured before the Astarabad revolt broke out. 2 

On receiving word of the Astarabad rebellion, Nadir instructed Behbud 
Khan, the Sardar of the Atak (the district bordering on the mountains, 
running from near Kalat to Ashqabad), to take immediate steps to suppress 
it. Behbud Khan, who had only 1,500 men at his disposal, was reluctant 
to obey this order, but Nasir Aqa, who had been a companion of Nadir- 
in his brigand days, and who, in company with Muhammad Zaman Khan,, 
had fled from Astarabad, prevailed upon him to set out. Behbud Khan’s, 
force encountered the rebels a few stages to the east of Astarabad ; at the 
outset the royal army was severely repulsed, but the day was lost for the 
rebels when one of the Qajar chiefs whom they had forced to join them 
went over to Behbud Khan with all his men. Muhammad Hasan Khan, 
with a hundred of his Qajar followers and the majority of the Turkomans,, 
escaped to the desert to the north. 3 Behbud Khan and Muhammad 
Husain Khan, the father of Muhammad Zaman Khan, who had meanwhile- 
reached Astarabad, wreaked a bloody revenge upon those of the rebels, 
who were unfortunate enough to fall into their hands. 4 As at Shiraz, 
two pillars of human heads were erected ; Hanway, who passed these 
pillars very shortly after they had been built, described them as being : 

" of stone whitened over, and made full of niches : these pyramids were about 
sixteen or twenty feet diameter at the basis, rising gradually to a point to near- 
forty feet; at the top of each was a single head. This being towards the close 
of the execution, the greatest part of the niches were filled with human heads, of 
which several had beards, and being set a little projecting, added to the horror 
of this object.” 6 

1 Hanway, VoL I, p. 202. One of the rebel leaders penetrated later into Mazandaran and seized. 
Barfurush, but his success was merely ephemeral. 

* Ibid., Vol. I, p. 301, and Vol. IV, p. 245. 

* Ibid., Vol. I, pp. 302 and 303. See also the N.N., pp. 136-140 ; Muhammad Ka?im’s account. 

must be read with caution, because it contains a number of inaccuracies, and he grossly 
exaggerates the numbers of the rebels and of Behbud Khan’s men in the battle. 
‘Hanway, Vol. I, pp. 297-303. Mirza Mahdi ( T.N . , p. 249) states that Muhammad Husain.. 
Khan punished innocent and guilty alike, because of the existence of a feud between h i m . 
and the rival Ashaqbash Qajaxs. 

* Hanway, Vol. I, p. 295 ; opposite this page is an engraving showing these twn «4n««> 



REVOLTS IN PERSIA, 1743-1744 245 

Some months later, Muhammad IJasan Khan appeared in Khwarizm, 
whither he had gone with some of his Yamut allies in order to stir up trouble 
in that already disturbed country. Nadir’s nephew, ‘Ali Quli Khan, 
assisted by Behbud Khan and some other experienced leaders, was then 
engaged in subduing the unruly tribesmen in those parts. 1 in a battle 
with the royal forces, Muhammad Hasan Khan engaged Behbud Khan 
in single combat and wounded his adversary ; for a time the Yamuts had 
the better of the fight, but the Merv contingent eventually routed them. 
Muhammad Hasan Khan was again forced to fly for his life, and remained 
a'wanderer in the deserts until after Nadir’s death. 3 

‘Ali Quli then sent some of his men against the Qaraqalpaqs and the 
Aral Ozbegs ; these operations were successful, and from these tribesmen’s 
territories and from Khwarizm the royal troops liberated between 500 
and 600 families of Khurasanis, some of whom were sent to Khivaqabad, 
Overawed by ‘Ali Quli’s display of force, the rebels who had been res- 
ponsible for the death of Tahir Beg and for the subsequent disorders 
submitted, and were then pardoned. After appointing Haras Inaq, a 
brother of the late Irtaq Inaq, Ataliq of Khwarizm, in order that Abu’l- 
Ghazi might have the benefit of his experience in the government of the 
country, ‘Ali Quli returned to Khurasan towards the close of 1745.* 

These threats to Nadir’s supremacy all failed, partly because there 
was no co-ordination between the rebel leaders and partly because none 
of these leaders possessed sufficient popularity and influence to rally round 
him enough men successfully to contend with the very powerful forces 
that were still at Nadir’s disposal. It must not be overlooked that, 
although dissatisfaction with his rule had become so widespread in Persia, 
the larger part of his army was composed of Afghans and Turkomans, 
who had little or no sympathy with the Persian population. 

These revolts, besides embittering the Shah and further increasing 
the ferocity of his temper, served to turn him more and more against his 
Persian subjects. 

1 See p. 241 above. 

1 For particulars of Muhammad Nasan Khan’s wanderings in the desert and of Nadir’s efforts 
to capture him, see pp. 9 and 10 of the Ta’rikk-i-Qajariya, by Mina Taqi Sipihr (Lisanu'i- 
Mulk). 

> Muhammad Kazim gives in great detail the record of these operations in Khwarum ; see the 
N.N., pp. 146-165. This authority states (p. 165) that 'Ali Quli poisoned one of his com- 
manders named Allah Verdi when near Merv ou the return march. ‘Ali Quli, it was rumoared, 
had been contemplating rebellion and had asked Allah Verdi to join him ; on the co mm a nd er 
refusing, he murdered him. 



CHAPTER XXIV 


The Resumption and Conclusion of the Turkish War, 

1744-1746 

At the close of Chapter XXIII it was stated that Nadir, after waiting 
for some weeks at Shahraban, left that place for Persia at the end of 
January, 1744, owing to the alarming news which he kept receiving 
of the risings in various parts of the country. Marching via Mahidasht, 
Kirmanshah and Kangavar, he halted for a time just to the north of 
Hamadan. 1 Von Hammer, on the more than doubtful authority of two 
French reports which Penkler, the Austrian Resident at Constantinople, 
sent to Vienna, states that two Turkish armies, each 100,000 strong, 
the one commanded by the Sar'askar of Baghdad (Ahmad Pasha) and the 
other by the Sar'askar (sic) of Mosul (Husain Pasha), attacked Nadir’s 
forces near Sinandij, and heavily defeated them. 2 It seems most im- 
probable that any large-scale attack took place at this time ; Ahmad Pasha, 
in view of his treaty with Nadir, would surely not have taken hostile action 
then, and Husain rasha and his relatively small army would hardly have 
ventured to take the offensive alone. It is possible that some Kurdish 
attack on the Persian advance guard or outposts may have been magnified 
into a major engagement. 

In Chapter XXIII the view was expressed that Nadir’s probable object 
in proposing terms to the Porte which he must have known would prove 
unacceptable was merely to gain time until the situation in Persia had 
improved. It is perhaps significant that, even when the dangerous 
revolt broke out in the south, he did not go in person to suppress it, but 
remained within striking distance of the Turkish frontier. 

Muhammad Aqa, Ahmad Pasha’s Kakya , delivered the treaty to the 
Porte in the middle of February, 1744. Although the Turks desired 
peace, they found that they could not in honour comply with Nadir’s 
religious demands ; they therefore refused to ratify the treaty, but 
they nevertheless made no immediate declaration that the war must be 
resumed. 2 Towards the end of February, the Porte sent Muhammad 

‘Hanway, who visited the camp at this place, stated (Vol. I, p. 240) that Hamadan was about 
a league to the south of it. 

*Von Hammer, Vol. XV, p. 71. 

* Stanhope Aspinwell to Whitehall, ioth/2ist February, 1744. (S.P. 97, Vol. XXXII.) 

246 



RESUMPTION AND CONCLUSION OF TURKISH WAR 247 

Aqa back to Baghdad with a message that it could not accept the treaty 
and that it doubted Nadir’s sincerity. Once more, Alimad Pasha’s 
loyalty was questioned in Constantinople, but in March he was, never- 
theless, appointed Sar‘askar of the southern forces. 1 Orders were sent 
to the Pasha of Qars to give further support to the Safavi pretender, the 
self-styled Safi Mirza ; in compliance with his instructions, the Pasha 
sent numbers of letters to tribal chiefs and other notables on the further 
side of the Persian frontier, urging them to rise in favour of the pretender. 1 

Nadir celebrated the Nau Ruz in his camp near Hamadan ; Jonas 
Hanway, who arrived at the camp at the end of March in order to obtain 
redress for his losses in the Astarabad rebellion, has given a most interesting 
account of it.* As to the strength of the Shah’s forces, Hanway said 1 : 

" ... he had with him but 30,000 effective men, though with the servants of the 
soldiers, and attendants upon the camp, they were in the whole near thrice that 
number ; a large body of forces was left towards Erivan ; near 30,000 men were in 
Shirvan ; 25,000 in Shiras, besides a body of forces in Khorasan, and a formidable 
army on the banks of the Indus. The numerous rebellions then on foot called 
on Nadir for the utmost attention, and he had taken measures for the suppression 
of them all at one and the same time.” 


From this camp Nadir proceeded to Abhar, where he heard of the 
action which the Pasha of Qars was taking on behalf of Safi Mirza ; he 
sent an enquiry to him, through the Governor of Erivan, as to why he 
was conducting such propaganda whilst peace negotiations were in 
progress. The Pasha answered that he had no knowledge of such nego- 
tiations and that he had received orders to support Safi Mirza. The 
Shah sent an angry reply to the Pasha that he would soon set out to meet 
him and the pretender. 8 

It being now obvious to Nadir that the Porte had no intention of 
ratifying the treaty, he started on his north-westward march towards the 
Turkish frontier. Whilst en route , he received the welcome tidings that 
Taimuraz and Irakli had captured Sam Mirza. He thereupon ordered 
one of the pretender’s eyes to be removed, and had him sent, in company 
with some Turkish prisoners, to the Pasha of Qars, with the message 
that, “ as Safi Mirza is also there, the unknown brothers may look upon 
one another.”* On reaching Gori, Nadir heard the further agreeable 
news that Taimuraz and Irakli, together with some Persian troops under 
‘Ali Khan, the Governor of Tiflis, had heavily defeated a Turkish force 
commanded by Yusuf Pasha of Akhal-Tsikh6 (“ New Castle ”) at Ruis, 
on the Liakvi ; a large sum of money which the Turks were conveying 


'Ibid., 24th March /4th April. 
•See Vol. I, pp, 440-259. 

• T..V., p. 250. 


* T.N., p. 250. See also p. 231 above. 
•Vol. I, p. 342. 

* Ibid., p. 251 ; S.N., p. 266. 



NADIR SHAH 


•248 

to the Lazgis fell into the Georgians’ hands. 1 Nadir was highly gratified 
at this additional success, and rewarded his Georgian allies by granting 
Kartli to Taimuraz and Kakheti to his son. 2 

From Gori Nadir set out for Qars, and camped just south of that 
fortress at the end of May. The Turkish garrison, which consisted of 
picked troops, strove hard to dislodge the Persian forces, but they met with 
a repulse after several hours of severe fighting. 3 The Persians then moved 
nearer to the fortress, round which they constructed fortifications ; for a 
month 4,000 workmen whom Nadir had brought from Tiflis endeavoured 
to divert the stream from which Qars obtained its water supply, but the 
Turks frustrated this design. 4 * * Almost continual skirmishing went on until, 
on the 24th August, a battle was fought, but the result was indecisive.® 

In his customary manner, Nadir had for some time been making 
peace proposals to the Sar'askar, who refused to respond until after the 
above-mentioned battle. Ahmad Efendi Kesrieli, one of the envoys from 
Qars, persuaded the Shah to treat direct with the Sultan (probably because 
the Sar'askar had not been authorised to negotiate), and, in company 
with some other Turkish delegates, conveyed Nadir’s peace proposals 
to Constantinople. 8 Notwithstanding this arrangement, Nadir continued 
the siege of Qars with vigour until the cold weather heralding the approach 
of winter compelled him to raise the siege on the 9th October. 7 

While this siege was in progress, an envoy from Muhammad Shah 
reached Constantinople bearing a letter for the Sultan with the suggestion 
that the two countries should enter into an alliance against Persia. The 
Sultan, in reply, merely gave the Emperor vague assurances of friendship. 8 

On leaving Qars, Nadir marched to the Arpa Chai and thence to Akhal- 
Kalaki ; from here he sent out raiding parties into the Turkish district 
of Akhal-Tsikh 6. 9 In the meanwhile, winter quarters were being prepared 
for his army at Barda‘a, and on the 6th December he reached that place. 10 


1 Muhammad Kazim states (N.N., p. 268) that the Turks were taking presents to the Usmi 
Ah m ad Khan, Surkhai’s son Muha mm ad, and the chiefs of the Avars and the Tabarsaran 
tribes, in order to induce them to join Safi Mirza. 

1 T - N -> P- 251 ; N.N., p. 268 ; Vakhusht, in' H. de la G., Vol. II, Part I, p. 198. 

* von Ha mm er, Vol. XV, p. 82 ; it is impossible to reconcile completely the version given in 

the T.N. (p. 252). 

* Papouna Orbelian, in H. de la G., Vol. II, Part II, p. 89 ,* see also von Hammer, Vol. XV, p. 86. 

* Von Ha mm er, Vol. XV, p. 83 (on the authority of the Turkish historian Tzzi ) ; Mirza Mahdi 

does not mention this engagement. 

* Ibid., Vol. XV, pp. 83 and 84 ; this authority states that the murmurings of the garrison and 

the intrigues of Kesrieli induced the Sar'askar to negotiate. 

’ Ibid., Vol. XV, p. 86 ; T.N., p. 252. 

* Ibid., Vol. XV, p. 87. Von H ammer considers that this Indian mission may have been the 

result of one of Bonne vaTs intrigues, as he had, some three years before, suggested to the 
French Ambassador at Constantinople the advisability of arranging for an alliance between 
India and Turkey against Persia. 

Orbelian, H, la G., Vol. II, Part II, p. 91, see also the T.N.& 252, 
lf TJX., p, 252. r 



RESUMPTION AND CONCLUSION OF TURKISH WAR 249 

However, instead of remaining at Barda‘a for the winter, he left for 
Daghistan three weeks later in order to punish the Lazgis once more. 
Having crossed the Kura by the bridge at Javad, he divided his men into 
four bodies, and led them rapidly northwards despite the severity of the 
weather. The Lazgis, being taken by surprise, submitted, after the 
Persians had captured large numbers of their cattle and sheep. 1 * * On the 
day of the Adha festival ( 1 oth Dhu’l-Hijja, 1 157 = 14th January, 3 745), 
Nadir went to Darband, whence he returned to Barda'a, but, finding 
that the water and food were more plentiful in the country north of the 
Kura, he marched three weeks later via Aresh to Shekki.* For three months, 
that is, from March to June, Nadir remained at Shekki, and then proceeded 
to Gokcha, in the yatlaq of Erivan. Whilst on the way to Gokcha, he 
was taken seriously ill, and had to be conveyed in a litter for several stages. 
He was skilfully tended by his physicians, and soon recovered.* 

On the Turkish side, Yegen Pasha, the new Sar‘askar on the northern 
front, went to Qars via Erzeroum in the summer of 1745. He had 
orders to remain on the defensive, but it appears that the danger of famine 
and the threat of mutiny amongst his men if he remained inactive compelled 
him to leave Qars and cross the Persian frontier ; his forces consisted of 
100,000 cavalry and some 40,000 Janissaries. At first all went well ; 
Yegen Pasha defeated several small bodies of Persians, and he was en- 
couraged by these minor successes to march on Erivan. In the meantime 
Nadir had decided to attack Qars once more, and on the 3rd August he 
set out from Gokcha for that fortress. On the 9th Rajab, 1158 (7th 
August, 1745), having heard of the approach of the Turks, he marched 
from Erivan to Murad TappS (formerly known as Baghavard), and camped 
on the spot where he had inflicted such a crushing defeat upon the army 
led by ‘Abdullah Kopriilti ten years before. 4 At noon on the following 
day the Turkish army, advancing from the opposite direction, halted a 
couple of farsakhs away from the Persian position ; the Turks spent the 
rest of the day fortifying their camp. 


* T.N., 


1 P» t . « j 

- Ibid. In the previous year the malcontents of Shekki, under the leadership of Hajji Chelebi 
ibn Qurban, had opposed the Persian troops in that district, and the fortress of Gsi&ska- 
Gdrashn had successfully withstood a siege by the royal forces. 

a Ibid., p, 253. Peirson wrote from Isfahan to Gombroon on the 5th/i6th October, I 745 » 
Nadir was then being tended by a Jesuit physician ; this Jesuit may have bear Pfcre Damien* 
of Lyons, who, according to P&re des Vignes [Latins Edifiattits, Voi. IV, p. 401) had pre- 
viously treated the Shah for some form of liver complaint. 

r.N., p. 254 ; N.N., pp. 288 and 289. In describing the movements of the Persians and Torts 
before the battle, Muhammad Kagan has taken whole sentences bodily ten the T.N • ; 
when stating that Nadir left Erivan for Murad TappA 00 the 9th Rajah, he gives the year 
as 1157 tnafaafi of 1158 (N.N., p. 288). Von Hammer m a kes two errors here j he states, 
in the first place, that the first battle took place twelve years before, and secondly, that the 
general who was defeated on that occasion was Jopal 'Osman. He evidently confused 
the first battle of Baghavard with the one fought at Aq Darband in 1733. 



NADIR SHAH 


250 

A most obstinate battle took place on the nth August, both sides 
making repeated attacks and counter-attacks. 1 According to Muhammad 
Kazim, the Turks drew up their troops and fought in the European manner 
in this battle 2 ; if this was so, it is doubtless to be ascribed to Bonneval’s 
training. It appears that the issue was decided when Nadir suddenly 
threw his reserves, numbering some 40,000 men, on the Turkish flank® ; 
Yegen Pasha’s men suffered so severely from this attack that they had to 
fall back to their fortified camp. Nadir made no attempt to dislodge 
the Turks from this position, but some days later, on hearing of a striking 
success which his son Nasrullah had gained over the Turks near Mosul, 
he sent a messenger to Yegen Pasha with the news. 4 Just as this messenger 
was nearing the Turkish camp he heard a great tumult in it ; the Turkish 
troops, as was soon discovered, had mutinied, and the unfortunate Yegen 
Pasha lost his life. It is uncertain whether he was killed by one of the 
mutineers or whether he died of chagrin at his defeat. 5 The Turkish 
army had by now become very demoralised and it fled in great confusion 
after its commander’s death, leaving all its artillery and baggage behind. 
The Turks’ casualties in the battle and in their subsequent flight amounted 
to some 28,000 men, of whom between 10,000 and 12,000 were killed ; 
among the dead were three pashas and many officers of lesser rank. 6 The 
field of Baghavard was certainly an ill-omened one for Turkey. 

Nadir showed great moderation after this striking victory ; he probably 
realised that, victorious though he was, his country was becoming too 
exhausted to enable him to carry the war into Turkish territory with any 
reasonable prospect of success. The triumph which he had just obtained 
would, on the other hand, enable him to secure an honourable peace. 

The Shah gave orders for those of the Turkish prisoners who were 
wounded and helpless to be freed and sent to Qars 7 ; at the same time, 
he dispatched messengers to Hajji Ahmad Pasha, the Turkish Sar'askar 
there, with fresh peace proposals in which, for the first time, there was no 
insistence on the recognition of the Ja‘fari sect or on the setting up of the 
fifth column in the Ka‘ba at Mecca. On the other hand, he still de- 
manded the cession of Van, Turkish Kurdistan, Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala 
and Basra.® 

1 T.N., p. 254. ‘ N.N., p. 290. 

* This move by Nadir is mentioned in an account of the battle (evidently from Turkish sources) 

which Aspinwell forwarded to Whitehall on the 30th August /roth September, 1745 (S.P. 97, 
Vol. XXXII) ; Mirza Mahdi is silent in regard to it, but Muhammad Kazim (N.N., p. 295) 
speaks of flank attacks by the Abdalis. 

* Nadir, having heard that another Turkish army was marching eastwards via Diyarbakr and 

Mosul, had sent his son Na$rullah against it ; the prince obtained a great victory over the 
Turks near Mosul (see the T.N., pp. 254 and 255). 

'Mirza Mahdi (T.N., p. 255) states that Yegen Pasha was murdered ; von Ha mm er (Vol. XV, 
pp. 96 and 97) says that he died either of chagrin at his defeat or at the hands of a mutineer. 

* See the account of the battle referred to in note 2 above. 

t T.N., p. 256. 'Von Hammer, Vol. XV, p. 98. 



RESUMPTION AND CONCLUSION OF TURKISH WAR s$i 


As the Porte found these proposals unacceptable, it began actively to 
prepare for a fresh campaign. ‘AH Pasha Hakimoghlu was appointed 
Sar‘askar of Qars in place of Hajji Ahmad Pasha, and endeavours were 
were made to secure the active co-operation of Surkhai and the Usmi 
Ahmad Khan in Daghistan, 1 

Whilst these preparations were in progress, a Persian ambassador 
named Fath ‘Ali Khan Turkoman arrived unexpectedly at Constantinople ; 
he had travelled via Baghdad where he had been detained for some time. 2 
The Sultan issued an order ( khatt-i-sharif ) for the proposals which Fath 
‘Ali Khan had brought to be discussed at a full council ; this was accord- 
ingly done on the ist February, 1746. It was found that, although the 
Shah was no longer adamantine on the religious issues, his territorial 
demands were still exorbitant. The council nevertheless declared that 
from the moment when Nadir had abandoned his religious claims the 
essential conditions of peace were fulfilled ; it stated, however, that no 
Turkish territory could be given up to Persia. After much discussion, 
it was agreed that Nazif Efendi, the former Ambassador to Persia, should 
proceed there on another mission in order to discuss the terms of peace. 
The Ambassador had instructions to insist on the specific renunciation 
of all claims respecting the Ja'fari sect and the fifth pillar in the Ka‘ba ; 
as to the frontiers, he was empowered to agree to a reversion to the de- 
marcation laid down by treaty of Zuhab in 1639.* 

Nadir in the meantime had left Adharbaijan and had proceeded by easy 
stages, via Hamadan and Farahan, to Isfahan, which he reached on the 
28th December, 1 745. Whilst en route he received envoys from the rulers 
of Khitai and Khotan, who brought him gifts of musk, ambergris, camphor, 
etc. (these presents were in return for gifts which he had dispatched to 
these rulers during the Turkistan expedition). 4 

Nadir’s sojourn in Isfahan proved to be a period of trial and tribu- 
lation, particularly for those of the inhabitants who were rich ; it is said 
that he had lists prepared of all those at Isfahan and elsewhere who had 
any wealth. 8 From the Governor of the city he demanded 10,000 tomans 
and gave orders for him to be bastinadoed : 

“ The King ordered him to cry out, when under Punishment, that such and 
such Armenians were indebted to him, who were immediately sent for and Mossels 
(muhassils) set on them to take the money without any examining into the Matter.” 4 

There was no redress whatever. A little later a tax was placed on 


1 Von Hammer, Vol. XV, p. 99. 

» Aspinwell's despatch to Whitehall, 9th /20th January, 1746 (S.P. 97, Vol. XXXII). 

* Von Hammer, Vol. XV, p. 102. 

* N.N., pp. 314 and 315 > see also the T.N., p. 256. 

* Gombroon Diary, 28th January /8th February, 1746. 



NADIR SHAH 


352 

goats, but many of those who owned these animals destroyed them in 
order to avoid payment of the tax. 

Peirson, the Resident of the East India Company, gave the Shah a 
handsome present and at the same time submitted a petition to him for 
the restoration of all the Company’s former privileges. Nadir graciously 
accepted the present, but refused to restore any of the privileges, on the 
grounds that those already granted or renewed through the intermediary 
of Mirza Mahdi and the “ talligaws ” (taliqas) of Taqi Khan which 
conferred customs exemption were sufficient. 1 

On the 10th Muharram, 1159 (2nd February, 1746), Nadir left 
Isfahan for Khurasan ; travelling via Ardkan and Tabas, he reached 
Hasanabad, in the district of Mashhad, early in the following month. 
Wherever he halted on this march, he behaved with great severity and 
cruelty to the officials ; after examining their accounts and questioning 
them, he accused the majority of treason, and had them tortured and 
mutilated, and in some cases put to death. At Hasanabad he accused 
Shah Quli Khan Qajar, the Governor of Merv, of having intrigued with 
Muhammad Hasan Khan Qajar, dismissed him from his post, and had 
him placed first in the pillory and then in the stocks. On examining the 
Merv accounts, the Shah grew angry and ordered the chief of the treasury 
officials of that place to be blinded ; he then dispatched muha?si!s there 
with orders to collect a very large sum “ to the last dinar .” 2 

From H asana bad Nadir went to Mashhad, where he received the 
Governors and lesser officials of Herat, Tun, Tabas, Qa’in and other 
towns, all of whom he punished. The officials and notables of the Holy 
City suffered very severely, no less than 100 of them being executed at 
the royal command. Nadir gave orders that the sum of one alf (500,000 
tomans) was to be raised by the citizens within the period of a year. 8 

Muhammad Kazim, who was then in charge of the accounts of the 
arsenal and ordnance at Merv, received a summons to the dreaded presence 
of the Shah, but (to use his own words) 4 : 

" By the favours of the Divine and Eternal One which the intelligence is incapable 
of imagining, one of the (other) officials and scribes, who had a small account of ten 
tomans, on coming into the calamitous gaze of that Presence, became the object 
of the royal anger and punishment, but the accounts of this contemptible one, 
which amounted to over 500,000 tomans, were, by the grace and assistance of the 
Creator, approved/' 

This authority relates that whenever an official emerged safe and sound 

1 Gombroon Diary , 8th jxgtt March, 1746 (quoting from a letter from Peirson dated the 31st 
January /nth February). 



RESUMPTION AND CONCLUSION OF TURKISH WAR 253 

from one of these perilous audiences, he would recite to himself a verse 
expressing his joy at escaping alive. 1 

Nadir, after expressing his approval of Muhammad Kazim’s accounts, 
gave orders for the preparation of the artillery at Merv to be continued, 
“ because, if Allah wills, after I have returned from the journey to ‘Iraq, 

I shall go to Turkistan.” 8 

Nau Ruz was celebrated with customary magnificence at Mashhad ; 
it is said that 12,000 coats of honour, ranging in value from ten to one 
hundred tomans, were given to the military leaders and notables ; however, 
for every person thus honoured, many were punished. 3 

It was at this time that a rebellion broke out in Sistan which was destined 
to have very serious consequences. The leader of the rebels was Fath 
‘Ali Khan Sistani (or Kayani), the Governor of the province. Fath 
‘Ali Khan, after enrolling himself in Nadir’s Army, had rendered good 
service in Afghanistan and India ; in consequence, Nadir had treated 
him well, and had later made him Governor of his own province of Sistan. 
During the winter of 1 745-6, Fath ‘Ali Khan received a raqam from the 
court ordering him to collect and dispatch to the royal treasury so large a 
sum of money that it was impossible to raise it in full ; all that he could do 
was to send off as much as he could extort from the already impoverished 
inhabitants. When the royal muha$$ih noticed that this sum fell very 
short of the full amount, they alleged to Nadir that the Governor was 
deliberately keeping back the balance. In great anger, Nadir summoned 
Fath ‘Ali Khan and several notables of Sistan to his court, and bade them 
bring the rest of the assessed amount with them. Knowing that no more 
money could be obtained and being in no doubt as to what their fate 
would be if they arrived empty-handed at the court, they saw that there 
was no alternative to rebellion. 4 

The revolt began in March, as stated above ; besides large numbers 
of Sistanis, many Baluch tribesmen joined Fath ‘Ali Khan, and there were 
rumours that the people of Qandahar and Kabul would also revolt. At 
first, all went well for the rebels, for they captured one of Nadir’s caravans 
from India, and made a successful raid on Barn.* Encouraged by the 
large numbers of his adherents and by these successes, Fath ‘Ali Khan 
conceived the idea of setting himself up as the independent ruler of Sistan 
and of much of the surrounding country. 6 The later phases of this revolt 


» N.N., p. 336. * Ibid., p. 336. * nid., p. 

* Ibid., pp, 479-481 ; Muhammad Ka*im states that " the dram of revolt was beaten in the 

month of Dhn'l-Qada, 1159 (November /December, 1746). bat this is in c or rect, as rij 
dear from entries in the Gombroon Diary in Hay, *746, based on letters bom Kinn&n. 
the revolt most have broken out in March or possibly even earlier. 

‘ Gombroon Diary, 30th April /nth May and 15th /26th May, 1746. 

* IfJf., p. 480. 



254 NADIR SHAH 

and its results, both direct and indirect, will be described in the next 
chapter. 

For precisely similar reasons to those which had caused the Sistan 
revolt, a rebellion broke out in Kirman in June, 1746, but, as it was on a 
much smaller scale, it was speedily suppressed. 1 

From Mashhad, Nadir went to Kalat, where he stayed for several days 
inspecting the buildings which his Indian workmen had erected there 
for the housing of his treasures. Enormous blocks of Maragha marble, 
some weighing as much as 50 and 60 kharvars (i 4 | and nearly 17J tons 
respectively) were used in the construction of these buildings and of some 
at Mashhad. Muhammad Kazim states that there were three particularly 
large blocks which were known as Iran-i-kharab (“ ruined Persia ”), 
kharaj~i~ alam (“ tribute of the world ”) and ‘ alam-i-kharab (“ ruined 
world ”). 2 

Money in gold and silver coins, to the value of nine crores of rupees or 
4,500,000 tomans (equivalent at that time to some £9,000,000) was placed 
in the treasure-house. Jewels, carpets and other objects of value were 
stored separately. It is related that Nadir, after going over the main 
treasure-house with some of the overseers of the workmen and several 
eunuchs, feared lest one of these persons should afterwards disclose the 
whereabouts of the treasures ; he therefore put to death two or three of the 
overseers and all the eunuchs.® 

At his orders, much was done to add to the natural strength of the fortress 
by erecting walls and watch-towers and by smoothing the already steep 
face of the surrounding cliffs, and so rendering them even more difficult 
to climb. 4 

Nadir then visited Abivard and the Darragaz district ; when at Dastgird 
he inspected his maulud-khana (“ birthplace house ”), and was extremely 
pleased with it ; possibly for this reason, he treated the poor of that part 
with kindness.® 

The Shah then returned to Mashhad, but he set out from there almost 
immediately afterwards for Persian ‘Iraq, in order to meet the Turkish 
Ambassador. 

Shortly after Nadir had arrived at Kurdan, a place in the Sauj Bulagh 

1 As in Sistan, it was the Governor who headed the revolt, because he was unable to collect in 
full the tax levied on the town and district. The loyal members of the garrison retired to 
the citadel, and expelled the local Afshars who were disaffected and who proceeded to join 
the rebel Governor. Savage and Graves, the local representatives of the East India Company, 
after hiding their books and cash, left their house secretly and took refuge in a fort some 
distance from the town, where they remained until reinforcements arrived and assisted 
the garrison to restore order. See the Gombroon Diary, ioth/2ist July, 1746. 

8 N.N., pp. 339 and 340. 

* Ibid., p. 341. 

* Ibid., p. 342. In this connection, see Curzon, Vol. I, p. 135. 

‘ Ibid., p. 342. 



RESUMPTION AND CONCLUSION OF TURKISH WAR 255 

district some 37 miles W.N.W. of Tehran, Nazif Efendi and his suite 
arrived at the royal camp, where they* were received with impressive 
ceremonial and pomp ; when Nadir received the Ambassador, he was 
seated on the peacock throne and wore his magnificent jewels, 1 Dis- 
cussions then ensued between Nazif Efendi and the Persian ministers, 
and agreement on every point was reached after five conferences had been 
held. On the 1 7th Sha‘ban, 1 1 59 (4th September, 1 746}, the treaty 
was signed at Kurdan, and so officially brought to a close the long period 
of strife between Persia and Turkey.* 

The treaty, which consisted of a preamble, three articles and a supple- 
ment, contained the following provisions : 

Preample. The terms of the treaty of peace concluded (at Zuhab) in the time of 
Sultan Murad IV (in 1639} were to be observed, and the frontier between the 
two states was to be as laid down in that instrument. In the second place, 
each country was to abstain “ from those matters, which excite resentment 
(kadurat) and which are detrimental to the conclusion of peace.” 

Article I. The Turkish authorities undertook to allow Persian pilgrims to go to 
Mecca via Baghdad or Syria and to protect them en route. 

Article II. Each state was to send an ambassador to the court of the other every 
three years. 

Article III. All prisoners on both sides were to be set free and to be allowed 
to return to their homes, and the buying or selling of prisoners as slaves was 
declared unlawful. 

Supplement, (i) The governors of the frontier provinces were to abstain from acts 
detrimental to friendship, (ii) The Persian peoples, having abandoned “ those 
unseemly opinions which were created in the times of the Safaris, and haring 
in their fundamental beliefs followed the path of the Sunnat,” were thence- 
forward to treat the Orthodox Caliphs (i.e., Abu Bakr, ‘Omar and ‘Othman) 
with respect. In the future these peoples were to go through Turkish territory 
to and from Mecca, Madina and the countries of Islam in the manner of the 
Turkish pilgrims and of the peoples of the other Islamic countries ; they were 
likewise to be able to visit the Holy Cities in Mesopotamia. So long as these 
pilgrims carried no merchandise, the Governor and officials of Baghdad were not 
to levy any tax upon them, (iii) Similar privileges were to oe accorded to 
Turkish pilgrims in Persian territory, (iv) It was provided, in conclusion, that 
the treaty should always remain in force. * 

When Nazif Efendi returned to Constantinople with the treaty, he took 
with him a letter from Nadir to the Sultan. In this letter, which began 
with a doxology and praise of Muhammad and the Orthodox Caliphs, 
Nadir referred to the heresies of Shah Isma'il, the evils which they had 
brought upon Persia and the troubles which they had stirred up between 

1 
s 
* 

1897), VoL I, pp. 306-308. 


Von Hammer, VoL XV, pp. 117 and n8. 

Ibid., p. 118 ; T.N., p. *58. 

TJf., pp. 260 and 261 ; Gabriel Efendi Noradocngian gives a French translation of the treaty 
{from the Turkish text) in his RecutU t Antes Inttnudiommx it FEmpin Ottoman (Paris, 



256 


NADIR SHAH 


^ J U 

A T^rlrev • after repeating that he had accepted the crown 
that country and p ers ians abiured the Shi‘a faith, he expressly 

of Persia on condruon tUt tke Pemans a j f ^ ^ ^ 

IfrenoundngTdaim to one of two portions of territory which had been 

- conceded 

magnificence to consisted of no less than 1,000 persons, while 

“ Atudhh'im sifts which surpassed in sumptuousness and value those 
he “ thTportfhfd hhherto sent to any Asiatic or European coverage- 
which the Porte ft destined to fulfil its task, because Nadir, 

^wi^be Ascribed In^thtflollowing chapter, was assassinated before it 

could reach his court. Ambassadors to the Porte his intimate com- 

Nadir, J or h* P*Mustafa Khan, and his historiographer, Mirza Mahdi ; 
r'°lk wdAto^sS for Sultan, a golden throne se, with jewels 
(Sless one of the spoils of Delhi), pearls from ‘Oman, and two dancrng 

elephants (JU-i-ra^astj' ...... 

„ a S9 ana .60 ; it te aot Other 1. tbi. latter or hr the treaty to vhrch o! th« 

' ^ a “ e ^v 0 f xY C pp° n imand 120 ; he gives the value of these presents as 7 oo purses. 

» T.N., p- 259- ’ 



CHAPTER XXV 


The Culminating Tragedy 

Although the signature of the Turkish treaty meant the final abandonment 
of Nadir’s dream of marching to the Bosphorus or of taking Baghdad, 
he nevertheless felt relieved that a settlement with the Turks had at last 
been effected ; to celebrate the event, he spent several days in feasting 
and drinking. His rejoicing, however, was cut short by the arrival of 
disturbing reports of the Sistan rebellion and of local outbreaks in 
Khurasan. 

The internal situation of Persia had been serious enough in 1743 
and 1744, when several isolated revolts had occurred, but by this time 
the people had become further embittered by the terribly repressive 
measures that had been taken to quell the revolts and by the Shah’s in- 
creasing lust for blood and money. Sullen resentment was, in fact, 
being replaced by savage desperation. 

In consequence of the disquieting news from the east, Nadir decided 
to return to Mashhad via Isfahan and Kirman. He reached Isfahan early 
in December, 1746, and remained there for seven weeks. Whilst in 
that city, he gave signs of increasing mental derangement ; to quote 
Hanway 1 : 

" From an incessant fatigue and labour of mind, attended with some infirmities 
of body, he had contracted a disposition, which in the generality of mankind is called 
by the name of peevishness, but in him was a diabolical fierceness, with a total 
insensibility of human sufferings. His avidity, as common to sickly minds, increased 
with his years *, and in order to indulge it, he seemed resolved to perform some 
master-stroke of cruelty. During his stay at Isfahan, he committed barbarities 
beyond any of die former years of his reign.” 

The Jesuit Pfcre Bazin, who at that time was appointed chief physician 
to the Shah through the instrumentality of Peirson, the Resident of the 
East India Company, 1 described Isfahan as resembling a city which, 
having been taken by assault, had then been given up to the fury of the 
conquerors. Whenever he emerged from the palace he would see the 
corpses of twenty-five to thirty men who had been strangled at Nadir’s 

' For farther details, see Appendix I. 

257 


*Voi. IV, p. 358. 


5 



NADIR SHAH 


258 

orders or murdered by the soldiery. One day, when an inventory of thi 
palace furniture was made, a small carpet was found to be missing ; th< 
keeper of the royal jewels was accused of its theft, and was immediately 
bastinadoed. While being beaten, the man cried out that he himsel 
was innocent, and that his predecessor had sold the carpet to eigh: 
merchants, four of whom were Jews and the others Armenians anc 
Indians. On the names of these men being given, they were all seized, 
and then, without even the semblance of a trial, they each suffered the loss 
of an eye ; they were thereupon cast in chains into a fire. Bazin relates 
that all those who witnessed this terrible scene, including the executioners, 
were aghast. 1 

It was, apparently, while Nadir was at Isfahan that he sent his nephew, 
"AH Quli Khan, to Sistan in order to complete the subjugation of the 
rebels. For several months Fath ‘Ali Khan Sistani had successfully 
withstood every attempt to defeat him, but eventually a force from 
Khurasan under a commander named Muhammad Rida had overwhelmed 
his men and taken him prisoner. Muhammad Rida then sent Fath 
‘Ali Khan in chains to Nadir ; the rebel leader’s fate is not recorded, but 
it is not difficult to imagine what it was. However, Muhammad Rida’s 
triumph was not complete, for many of the Sistani and Buluch rebels 
escaped ; they then rallied round one of Fath ‘Ali Khan’s commanders 
named Mir Kuchik, who led them to the old Arsacidan fortress of Kuh-i- 
Khwaja, 2 * which was very strongly situated on an isolated bluff at the western 
end of the Hamun. It was against Mir Kuchik and his followers that 
Nadir sent ‘Ali Quli Khan ; he also dispatched Tahmasp Khan Jalayir 
to assist him 8 ; what ensued will be described later in this chapter. 

Meanwhile, the Shah had been imposing enormous taxes or rather 
contributions upon the people not only of Isfahan, but of practically every 
part of his empire ; even the members of his own family were not exempt, 
as will be seen below. He impounded the property of his nephew 
Ibrahim Khan, and sent orders to ‘Ali Quli in Sistan to pay 100,000 
tomans ; Tahmasp Khan Jalayir was assessed at half that amount. 4 
Peirson and Blandy, the Isfahan representatives of the East India 
Company, reported to London that in consequence of these terrible 
exactions 5 * * : 


1 Bazin, op. cit., p. 300 ; see also the T.N., p. 264 and Lutf ‘Ali Beg’s Atash-Kada. 

4 Professor Herzfeld has described the Kuh-i-Khwaja in his Arohaological History of Iran, pp. 

50 and 58/74 ; this work also contains several photographs and diagrams of the fortress. 

4 The above particulars are taken from the N.N., pp. 480 ^89 ; according to Muhammad Kazim, 

'Ali Quli Khan made so little progress with the siege of the Kuh-i-Khwaja that Nadir grew 
impatient and dispatched Tahmasp Khan to expedite the operations. It appears from 

the T.N., however, that Tahmasp Khan accompanied 'Ali Quli. (T.N., p. 265.) 

* T.N., p. 265. 

4 Letter from Isfahan to London, dated the 16th /27th May, 1747. 



THE CULMINATING TRAGEDY 


-59 

“ No bound is had to Usury and many Places have revolted hereupon, for nobody 
is exempt and the King has likewise imposed large sums upon his Sons and Nephews 
which with his intolerable Cruelties in killing to the amount of forty to fifty People 
every Day and other outrages gives every Reason to fear he is out of his senses." 

The effects of this insane policy in Sistan and Kirman. in the previous 
year have already been described. In Georgia, where crushing taxation 
had been imposed, Taimuraz and his son Irakli prepared for armed 
resistance, but the former, instead of revolting, decided on the bolder 
course of going in person to the Shah in order to remonstrate and to 
plead for a reduction in the amount demanded. In May, 1 747, Taimuraz 
set out for the royal court, but Nadir’s assassination took place before he 
could arrive there. 1 In Adharbaijan the exasperated populace revolted 
and proclaimed the pretender, Sam Mirza Shah, at Tabriz when he 
appeared there.* 

On the 10th Muharram, 1160 (23rd January, 1747), Nadir left Isfahan 
for Yazd and Kirman ; wherever he halted, he had many people tortured 
and put to death, and had towers of their heads erected. He was particu- 
larly severe at Kirman, because of the revolt that had occurred there in 
the previous summer. Captain Possiet, a member of Prince Mikhail 
Mikhailovich Golitzin’s mission to Persia,* who had travelled on in advance 
and was in Kirman at this time, saw two lofty towers of heads there. 4 
The interpreter of the Dutch factory was beaten to death, because it had 
been alleged that some Persian notable had deposited a large sum of money 
with him 5 ; the English did not escape, for they were forced to give the 
Shah a large draft on Isfahan.* 

The Nau Ruz festival was held just outside Kirman, but it must have 
been an occasion for lamentation rather than rejoicing. At the end of 
March Nadir left for Mashhad and marched across the terrible Dasht-i- 
Lut, where many of his men perished of hunger and thirst, while others 
were swallowed up by the treacherous ground,’ 

At Tabas, the first town to be reached on the further side of the desert, 
Nadir received his sons and grandsons, sixteen in number, whom he had 

» Papoana Orbelian, in H. de la G., VaL II, Part II, pp. 117 and 118 and 219-123. 

* Ibid. See also p, 10 of G olistana ’s Das Mujmil et-TMhh-i-Ba'dnddirfje (Leiden edition, edited 

by Oskar Mann). _ 

* This Prince Golittin was a relative of Prince Sergei Dmitrievich Golitsin, who hadbeenRnssian 

Ambassador to Persia from April, 1734, until Jane, 1735. Particulars of Prince M. SI. 
Golitzin’s mission are given by Lerch (Bftsching*s Magatin, Vol X, pp. 367 rt «*#.), Dr. 
T Coofc (Voyages and Travels through the Russian Empire, Tartary ami part of the Kingdom 
of Persia, Vol II, pp. 242-260), and Hanway, Vol. I, Chapters LTV to LVIII. GoHfcrin and 
the other members of his embassy arrived at Resht in April, 1747, and were on their way 
to Nadir’s camp when they received the news of his as sassination. 

* Lerch, op. at., p. 421, and Cook, VoL II, p. 499. Captain Possiet was Lerch's brother-in-law. 

* Hanway, VoL IV, p. 259. 

* See Appendix I, 

1 Batin, pp. 307 and 308. 



iSo 


NADIR SHAH 


summoned to meet him there. After regarding them for some time, 
he offered his crown to each of the three eldest in turn, but the youths, 
fearing a trap, all refused, pleading their incapacity, extreme youth and 
inexperience. 1 

On reaching Mashhad at the end of April,- Nadir behaved, if possible, 
in an even more brutal and inhuman manner than he had done at Isfahan 
and Kirman. With the Shah in this frenzied state, nobody could feel 
secure ; all feared not only for their fortunes, but also for their lives. 
Impelled by the instinct of self-preservation, everybody, including even 
Nadir’s own relations, entered into plots and sought to join in the revolts 
that were already in progress or on the point of breaking out. 2 

In Sistan, messengers arrived almost daily at ‘Ali Quli’s camp bringing 
news of fresh exactions and executions by the Shah. When ‘Ali Quli 
heard of the seizure of his brother’s property and of the levy of 100,000 
tomans on himself, he decided to revolt. Tahmasp Khan, despite the 
news of the levy of 50,000 tomans upon himself, remained loyal to Nadir, 
and strove to dissuade ‘Ali Quli Khan from rebelling ; when ‘Ali Quli 
refused to listen to him, he showed him a warrant from Nadir for his execu- 
tion ; ‘Ali Quli retorted by producing another order, bearing the royal 
seal, for the Khan to be put to death. 8 Although the sight of his own 
death warrant seems for a time to have caused Tahmasp Khan to waver 
in his loyalty to Nadir, he ultimately, as will be seen below, proved faithful 
to him. 

‘Ali Quli’s first action on revolting was to make common cause with 
Mir Kuchik and his men who had all this time been successfully resisting 
him. The universal terror that Nadir had inspired rather than affection 
for ‘Ali Quli caused large numbers of Sistani, Baluch and Afghan tribesmen 
to join in the revolt. Encouraged by the widespread nature of his support, 
‘Ali Quli began to entertain hopes of the throne ; with ever-increasing 
forces, he marched from Sistan to Herat, where he arrived in the middle 
of Rabi‘ II (26th April, 1747) ; here he received many chieftains from the 
surrounding districts, who all swore to aid him against Nadir. Once 
more Tahmasp Khan endeavoured to restrain ‘Ali Quli, but the latter 
again refused to listen to him, and, when the Khan persisted, he silenced 
him for ever with a dose of poison. 4 

The news of ‘Ali Quli's revolt spread rapidly and gave a great impetus 
to the growing opposition to Nadir’s intolerable tyranny. Among those 
to rise in favour of ‘Ali Quli were the Kurds of Khabushan, who signalised 

1 Bazin, p. 308. Muhammad Kazim states (N.N., p. 501) that Nadir had five sons and fifteen 
grandsons (see the genealogical tree which forms Appendix II). 

*Ibid., p. 309. 

• N.N., pp. 488-490. 

4 Ibid., p. 491. 



THE CULMINATING TRAGEDY 


261 


their revolt by raiding the royal stud farm at Radkan. 1 Nadir, who had 
been greatly upset by the rebellion of his nephew *Ali Quli, for whom he 
had done so much in the past, was enraged by this Kurdish raid on Radkan, 
and set out from Mashhad at the head of 1 6,000 men to punish the per- 
petrators. He seems to have been aware of the rapidly growing danger 
to himself, and his family, since he took the precaution of sending his sons 
and his grandson Shahrukh to Kalat for safety before he left Mashhad for 
Khabushan. 2 

On the approach of the Shah, some of the Kurds shut themselves up 
in the citadel at Khabushan and prepared for a siege, while others fled to 
the Ala Dagh mountains. On the evening of the 1 9th June, Nadir and 
his army camped on rising ground 8 at Fathabad, two farsakks from 
Khabushan ; Bazin, who was in attendance upon the Shah, relates* that 
he: 


“ seemed to have some presentiment of the evil which was awaiting him at this 
spot. For some days he had kept in his haram a horse saddled and bridled. He 
attempted to escape to Kalat. His guards surprised him, pointed out the evils 
which his flight would entail, proclaimed that they were his faithful servants, that 
they would fight for him against all his enemies and that not one of them would 
abandon him. He then allowed himself to be persuaded, and returned. He clearly 
perceived that for some time a number of plots against his life had been woven. 
Of all the nobles at his court, Muhammad Quli Khan, his relation, and Salih 
Khan were the most discontented and the most active. The first was in command 
of the guards and the second the superintendent of his household. The latter 
caused him less fear because his post gave him no authority over the troops ; but he 
dreaded the former, (who was) a man of swift action ( expedition ), esteemed for his 
bravery, and (who was) on good terms with his officers. It was on him that suspicion 
fell. He (Nadir) resolved to forestall him. 

" He had in his camp a corps of 4,000 Afghans ; these foreign troops were entirely 
devoted to him and hostile to the Persians. On the night of the i9th/2oth June 
he summoned all their chiefs. * I am not satisfied with my guards,' he said to them. 
‘ Your loyalty and your courage are known to me. I order you to arrest all their 
officers to-morrow morning and to place them in irons. Do not spare any of them 
if they dare to resist you. It is a question of my personal security, and I entrust 
the preservation of my life to you alone.' ”* 


The commander of the Afghans was Ahmad Khan Abdali, the second 
son of Muhammad Zaman Khan Sadozai : he was then a young man of 
between twenty-three and twenty-five* ; he owed his rapid, advancement 


1 T.N., p. 265 ; according to Muhammad Kajfim (N.N., p. 495), tie Kurds rose because Nadir 
bad sent his muhaffils to the Khabushan district to collect the sum of 1,400 etfs (Le., 7,000,000 
tomans), which' seems an incredibly large amount 
1 Bazin, p. 311, 

5 Fbis eminenc e was afterwards known as Nadir T&ppJL 

* Bazin, p. 3x2-313. 

1 ft is dear from other accounts that Nadir meant to massacre the Persian officers. 

* He had been aged between fourteen and sixteen when Nadir freed him from captivity on taking 

Qaxtdahar in 173S. 



262 


NADIR SHAH 


to his military ability and zeal, which had attracted Nadir’s notice and 
gained him the royal favour. Ahmad Khan and his officers, after promising 
to carry out Nadir’s orders, retired, and took immediate steps to prepare 
their men for their dreadful task. A spy, however, had overhead the 
Shah’s discussion with the Afghan leaders, and divulged the secret to 
Muhammad Quli Khan, who passed it on to Salih Khan. The two men 
then made a compac't “ not to abandon each other and to kill that very 
night the common enemy who had resolved to put them to death on the 
following day .” 1 To use a Persian expression, they determined “to 
breakfast off him ere he should sup off them .” 2 

Muhammad Quli Khan and Salih Khan took into their confidence 
only those of their companions whom they knew to be entirely trust- 
worthy. After some discussion, it was agreed that Muhammad Quli 
Khan, Salih Khan, Muhammad Khan Qajar, of Erivan, Musa Beg, of the 
Eyerlu Afshars, Qoja Beg Gunduzlu, of the Afshars of Urumiya, and some 
seventy others were to murder the Shah that night, before he could give 
the order for the massacre of the Persians to begin . 3 & 

Some hours after nightfall the conspirators cautiously made their way 
to the tent of Chuki, the daughter of Muhammad Husain Khan Qajar, 
with whom Nadir was passing the night. So great was their terror of 
Nadir that the majority of the conspirators did not dare to enter the tent, 
and only Muframmad Khan Qajar, Salih Khan and one other resolute 
man had courage enough to proceed, after strangling the guard who 
was on duty at the entrance. Their movements aroused Chuki, who, 
on noticing the dim form of Salih Khan approaching, awakened the sleeping 
Shah. Nadir sprang up from the bed in angry astonishment, and heaped 
abuse upon Salih Khan as he advanced upon him ; drawing his sword, 
he then rushed upon the assassin, but tripped over one of the tent ropes 
and fell to the ground ; before he could get up, Salih Khan struck at him 
with his sword and cut off one of his hands. After striking this blow, 
?alih Khan became suddenly stricken with terror and stood as if rooted 
to the ground ; Muhammad Khan Qajar, however, retained his courage 
and, following up the attack with a well-directed blow, cut off Na dir ’s 
head . 4 

The assassins and their accomplices thereupon seized whatever of 
Nadir s^ possessions they could lay their hands on, and then entered the 
women s quarters and seized their valuables, but did not otherwise molest 
them. From the harem they hastened to the tents of the three ministers 

1 Gulistana, op. dt., p. 14. 

‘This quotation is taken from Professor E. G. Browne's Persian Literature in Modern Times 

!?• * 37 - 

* Gulistana, op. cit., p, 14. 

* Ibid,, op. cit. $ p. ig. 



THE CULMINATING TRAGEDY 263 

who had enjoyed Nadir’s particular favour ; they killed two of these 
ministers, but spared the third. 1 

These deeds were followed by a scene of terrible confusion and horror 
in the camp. Ahmad Khan and his 4,000 Afghans could not believe 
at first that Nadir was really dead ; hastening towards the royal quarters 
in order, as they thought, to protect him, they found their way barred 
by 6,000 Qizilbash guards, who were joined soon after by another body 
4,000 strong. Although greatly outnumbered, the Afghans hewed 
their way through their opponents’ ranks and entered Chuki’s tent. 
When they saw Nadir’s headless trunk lying in a pool of blood, they were 
overcome with horror. After giving expression to their grief, they retired, 
and, although attacked by the Qizilbash, they again fought their way 
through and in due course reached Qandahar in safety ; on their way 
they intercepted and captured a treasure convoy from Nadir’s camp. 2 

Having hastened from Herat to Mashhad, ‘Ali Quli Khan felt that his 
chances of securing and retaining the crown would be slender so long as 
any of Nadir’s sons remained alive ; he therefore dispatched a strong force 
of Bakhtiaris, under a Georgian named Suhrab Khan, to take the fortress 
of Kalat to which, as stated above, Nadir had sent the princes for safety. 
After a siege of sixteen days, the Bakhtiaris succeeded in entering the 
fortress by means of a ladder which the defenders, either through negligence 
or by design, had left one night standing against the cliff. 8 

"When the Bakhtiaris entered Kalat, Nasrullah, Imam Quli, Shahrukh 
and the other princes took horse and fled in the direction of Merv, but 
they were immediately pursued and were soon overtaken. Nasrullah 
resisted most bravely, but he was overpowered, and he and his brothers 
and nephew were then taken back to Kalat. At ‘Ali Quli’s orders, the 
unfortunate Rida Quli and fifteen of his relatives were put to death at 
Kalat, and Nasrullah and Imam Quli were slaughtered after being taken 
to Mashhad, while their remaining brothers (Chingiz Khan, aged three, 
and Muhammad Allah Khan, who was an infant) were poisoned.* 

So determined was ‘Ali Quli to extirpate Nadir’s line that he even put 
:o death those of his widows and women who were with child.* Shahrukh, 

* Bar™ , p. 323 ; this authority omits the names of the two ministers who were killed ; one 

of these was probably Mirxa ZaM. Bazin gives the name of the one who was spared as 
“ Mayer Kan’’ ; this was presumably Hasan 'Ali Khan Mu'ayyiru’l-Mamatlik (it is known 
that he survived). 

1 naffti, p. 324 ; T.N., p. 265 ; Gulistana, pp. 20 and 21 ; it must have been on this occasion 
that Afrmad Khan obtained possession of the Koh-i-Nor diamond (see p. i$s above). 

• Mirza Mahdi (T.N., p. 266) states that some of the garrison, after fetching water one night 

from a stream outside the fortress, negligently left their ladder sta ndi n g against the otherwise 
unsaleable cliff ; Muhammad Kapm also states {N.N., p. 500) that they were negligent. 
Bazin (p. 328), however, suggests treachery. . , _ .. 

TJ?„ p. 266. rhing jt Khan was probably the son of Abu l- Fail’s daughter whom Nadir 
had maiiied at Bukhara (see p. 189 above) ; in this connexion, see also Appendix II. 
Bazin, p. 329. 



268 


NADIR SHAH 


played a part in the fall of Qandahar. The reasons for this comparative 
failure were, in the first place, that Nadir’s heavy artillery was deficient 
both in quality and quantity ; the vast distances that he traversed when 
campaigning and the lack of roads made the transport of heavy artillery 
a most difficult matter. Secondly, the Persian military engineers were 
not a highly trained body of men, and were certainly less highly skilled 
than those in the Turkish service. In the third place, during a siege 
Nadir could rarely utilise his most striking gift as a soldier, namely, 
his ability to make effective use of shock tactics and of the element of sur- 
prise by means of his cavalry. Another factor that must be taken into 
account was the great strength of the fortresses of those days ; the means 
of defence were then very strong as compared with the weapons of attack. 

Although his heavy siege trains were mediocre, Nadir’s medium and 
lighter artillery, when compared with the standards of his predecessors and, 
indeed, with those of his eastern contemporaries, was really extremely 
good. It was due very largely to the assistance and advice of some 
French officers in his service that he was able to make the Persian artillery 
more formidable than it had ever been before ; in fact, a military authority 
has stated that Persia possessed no real artillery before Nadir’s time . 1 

Nadir was much more than a mere commander ; he was a splendid 
organiser and trainer, and he was able, by the sheer force of his personality, 
to impose his will upon the seemingly unwarlike man-power that he had 
at his disposal in his earlier days, and to transform it into excellent fighting 
material. Little by little, he instilled new life into the Persian soldiery, 
and not only restored the morale which they had lost under a series of 
incompetent commanders, but also inspired in them the same high degree 
of confidence in his leadership that he himself possessed. By his infusion 
of large numbers of Afghans and Ozbegs into his ranks, he raised still 
higher the efficiency of his army, and by his rigid enforcement of discipline 
and his insistence upon drill, he welded the whole into a most formidable 
fighting machine . 2 The remarkable extent to which he could control 
his heterogeneous forces is graphically illustrated by their instant obedience 
when he ordered them to cease from massacring and plundering the people 
of Delhi, and, later, when he made his men surrender part of their Indian 
spoils. 

Nadir’s amazing memory was of great value to him as a commander ; 
Cockell said that he could 8 : 

1 Colonel G. Drouville’s Voyage en Perse (Paris, 1828), Vol. I, p. 142. This statement is rather 
too sweeping, for the Sherley brothers had done much to improve the Persian artillery in 
the time of Shah ‘Abbas the Great. 

* Sir F. Goldsmid’s Persia and its Military Resources, in the Journal of the Royal United Service 

Institution, Vol. XXIII, p. 155 (7th March, 1879). See also Drouville, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 85, 
and J. B. Fraser’s Narrative of a Journey into Khorasan in the years 1821 and 1822, p. 229. 

* J. Fraser, p. 233. 



NADIR’S ATTAINMENTS AND CHARACTERISTICS 269 

“ readily call all the principal officers in his numerous Army by their Names. He 
knows most of the private Men who served under him any Time, and can recollect 
when and for what he punished and rewarded any of them.” 

A number of Nadir’s contemporaries have mentioned his remarkably 
loud voice which enabled him to make his commands easily heard above 
the din of battle and which on several occasions struck terror into the 
enemy. 1 

If we judge Nadir by the effects of his military achievements, what is 
the result r As regards Persia, he certainly freed her from foreign 
domination, but his intolerable tyranny rendered nugatory the value 
of this boon. In the west, his long campaigns against the Turks greatly 
weakened them, thereby benefiting both Russia and Austria and influ- 
encing to some extent the trend of events in south-east Europe. In the 
east, his invasion of India shook the Mughal Empire to its foundations 
and accelerated the decline that had already set in ; where Nadir had led, 
Ahmad Shah Durrani followed, and their invasions so sapped the Mughal 
power that the establishment of British supremacy was greatly facilitated. 

In conclusion, one may say that Nadir was the greatest soldier of his 
day, and that he raised his country from the lowest depths of degradation 
to the proud position of the foremost military power in Asia. It was most 
unfortunate for Persia that his triumphs, instead of bringing her lasting 
benefits, merely conferred upon her an evanescent glory at the cost of 
incalculable suffering and terrible loss of life. 


Nadir as a Statesman and Ruler. 

Nadir was essentially a warrior, and was at his best when leading his 
army ; it would be idle to pretend that he was successful as a ruler. 
Whilst he was at war, he subordinated everything to its prosecution, and 
when peace came he busied himself preparing for his next campaign ; 
peace to him, in fact, was nothing more than an irksome, but sometimes 
necessary, interlude. 

But for his overmastering passion for war, Nadir might, nevertheless, 
have made an excellent king, for Bazin said of him 3 1 


1 Ibid., p. 227. Sir John Malcolm, in his Sketches of Persia (London, x 86 i),pp .|5 3 $- J 

« Lmsmg story of how the Sultan of Turkey, knowing that Nadir prided himself upon his 
exceptional voice, sent as his envoy to Persia a porter of extraordinary physical strength 
andmost powerful lungs. When this envoy was received by the Shah, they had a 
match, in which the porter-ambassador was clearly the winner. Nadir was 
at his humiliation, bat at length smiled and admitted that the man bad xa*rit. t 
to have said to the envoy, when giving him leave to depart : TeB Mahmood 1 am 8*“* to 
fry ! he has one in his dominions, and has had the good sense to send him here, that 
we may be satisfied of the fact.” 

»Barin, p. 316. 



270 


NADIR SHAH 


" Malgre la bassesse de son extraction, il sembloit nl pour le trone. La nature 
lui avoit donnl toutes les grandes qualitis qui font les beros, et une partie mime 
de celles qui font les grands Rois. On aura peine a trouver dans l’Histoire un Prince 
d’un glnie plus vaste, d’un esprit plus plnetrant, d’un courage plus intrlpide, 
Ses projets etoient grands, les moyens bien choisis,. et l’exlcution prlparee avant 
mime que l’entreprise Iclatat ; ses regards se portoient sur toutes les provinces de 
son Royaume, rien ne lui Itoit inconnu, et il n’oublioit rien. Les travaux ne l’abat- 
toient point ; il ne s’effrayoit pas des dangers. Les obstacles mimes et les difficultls 
entroient dans l’ordre de ses projets.” 

Had he chosen, he might perhaps have gained the love, as he had already 
won the admiration, of his people, but his mind, instead of being fixed 
upon the government of his realm, was obsessed by dreams of conquest. 
Despite the lustre which his military exploits gave to Persia, he soon became 
hated by the majority of his subjects because of his arbitrary ways, his 
crushing taxation, his supersession of the Safavi line and his supplanting 
of the Shi'a religion. 

Except on rare occasions (e.g., when he settled at Khivaqabad the liber- 
ated Persians from Khwarizm and provided for their wants), he seemed 
to have had but little regard for the welfare of his subjects , 1 and he made no 
serious effort to build up the material resources of his empire ; he looked 
upon his people not as human beings, but merely as furnishers of man- 
power, money and supplies for his enormous army. The long wars with 
the Abdalis and Turks, following upon the period of Afghan domination, 
had, by the time he ascended the throne, terribly impoverished and 
exhausted the country. When he returned from India with spoils worth 
many millions of pounds, he had a unique opportunity of giving his sorely 
tried people a respite from taxation for a number of years. Nadir, 
however, hoarded his treasures, and soon resumed his exactions in a manner 
far more harsh and thorough than before. Merchants were taxed almost 
out of existence, while agriculturalists fared even worse, for, besides being 
heavily taxed, they frequently had their man-power and their crops 
requisitioned. It is strange that a man so endowed with intelligence 
should not have realised that, by acting as he did, he was killing the goose 
that laid the golden eggs ; his abnormal mental condition during his 
later years may have been responsible for this obtuseness. 

To his credit, it must be said that he restored order and freedom from 
attack in many parts of his realm ; he did much to secure his north-east 
frontier against the devastating raids of the Turkomans and Ozbegs 
by moving Afshars, Bakhtiari, Kurdish and other warlike tribesmen to 
the border districts there ; this policy had the additional advantage of 

1 Nevertheless, as Hanway has said (V ol. I, p. 248), Nadir “ often enquired into the price of 
necessaries, and reduced them as he thought proper, fining the market-people upon every 
transgression." 



■NADIR’S ATTAINMENTS AND CHARACTERISTICS 271 

splitting up and weakening these powerful tribes, and at the same time 
it increased the population and added to the importance of Khurasan. 

In many respects, Nadir sought to break away as far as possible from 
the ways and customs of his Safavi predecessors. The most important 
■of these changes was the substitution of the Sunni for the Shi‘a religion, 
the reasons for which have already been given. Secondly, he made 
Mashhad the capital of his kingdom in place of Isfahan. In the third 
place, he abandoned the pernicious practice of keeping the royal princes 
immured in the harem until the time came for them to rule ; the lamentable 
results of this policy were clearly shown on the accession of Shah Sultan 
Husain and of his son Tahmasp II. Nadir, on the other hand, gave his 
sons military and other appointments at an early age, a fact which led 
the Gombroon Agent to make the following comment 1 : 

'* It is no small Proof of his Superior Sense and Judgement that can depart 
from a bad Custom so long and cruelly maintain'd by his Predecessors and all other 
Eastern Princes of immuring their Children with Eunuchs and Women in a Seraglio 
till by their Father’s Deaths they are called in to the World, Monsters to Govern.” 

In the autumn of 1740, while Nadir was absent in Turkistan, it was 
reported in Isfahan that he* : 

"... intends to change the Persian habit, his Subjects to shave their Beards 
■and to put on Turkish Dress as also to destroy all Places that were built (by) or bear 
the Name of Shaw Abas and erect others in their stead, likewise to bring a River 
some days distant from Isfahan to water the City.”* 


This report proved to be nothing but a rumour, but it is noteworthy 
that he had already changed the headdress of his subjects, having (as we 
learn from Otter), 4 invented and forced them to wear a four-cornered 
hat round which a woollen shawl or scarf was wound. 

Although Nadir did not succeed in founding; an enduring dynasty, 
he, like Henry VIII in England, added very considerably to the property 
of the crown by his wholesale confiscation of religious lands ana en- 
dowments. 

Nadir administered his kingdom through the Reglarbegis, or Govemors- 
General, who in his time were three in number 5 ; under them were the 


1 Gombroon Diary, 6th /17th November, 1739. 

* Ibid., 19th /30th November, 1740. v 

■» Nadir was by no means the initiator of this scheme (known as the karkun&n), which was to 
divert the head waters of the Karim into the Zayanda Rod by means of a tunnd or coning. 
The wo* was begun by Shah Tahmasp I, and was continued on a different basis by Abbas 
the Great and, later, by 'Abbas II. (See Herbert's Travels, p. 135 and Sir W. Foster's note 
thereon ; also, Curzon’s Persia, Vot II, p. 316.) — , 

* Otter, Vol. I. pp. 39 and 40. An interesting modem parallel 1* the creation at the t«wavi 

hat by H.IJC. Shah Bern Pahlavi. 

* Hanway, Vol. I, p. 336. 



NADIR SHAH 


272 

Governors, Deputy Governors and lesser officials. All were appointed 
by the Shah who, by his elaborate system of spies, kept himself closely 
informed of what they were doing. 1 He closely supervised the finances 
of the provinces and, indeed, of the whole kingdom ; on arriving at any 
important place, he would, if time permitted, go carefully through the 
accounts of the local mustaufi or treasury official, whom woe betide if any 
mistake or irregularity were found. 

In his foreign policy Nadir certainly showed much skill, but in this, 
as in everything else, he thought more of the furtherance of his own aims 
than of the interests of his people. 

In conclusion, it may be said that Nadir ruled Persia as an absolute 
monarch, but that he was himself the slave of his own inordinate ambition. 

Nadir's Personal Appearance , Character and Tastes. 

Mirza Mahdi gives but little information regarding Nadir’s personal 
appearance, character and tastes, possibly because he considered such 
details as unnecessary or even out-of-place in his official record ; for- 
tunately, this omission can be made good from other contemporary 
sources. 

William Cockell, in his interesting “ Personal Description of Nadir ” 
at the end of Fraser’s book, states that he was 2 : 

"... about fifty-five Years, upwards of six Foot high, well proportion’d, of a 
very robust Make and Constitution, his Complexion sanguine and inclining to be fat, 
but the Fatigue he undergoes prevents it ; he has fine large Black-eyes and Eye- 
brows ; and, in short, is one of the most comely Men I ever beheld. The Injury 
the Sun and Weather have done to his Complexion only gives him a more manly 
Aspect.” 

In his earlier days, Nadir’s bodily strength and powers of endurance 
were very great, and, when he was campaigning, he would undergo the 
same hardships and live on the same simple fare as the common soldiers. 8 

Muhammad Bakhsh noticed, in May 1739, that Nadir had already 
taken to dyeing his beard and moustache black, but remarked upon his 
youthful appearance and erect bearing ; he was then just over fifty. 4 
The portrait which is now at the India Office (see p. 277) below) is pre- 
sumably a good likeness of him at that time. Nearly five years later, 
‘Abdullah ibn Husain as-Suwaidi, who was received by Nadir at Najaf, 
stated that his face showed the marks of age and senility, that several 
of his front teeth were missing, that he appeared to be eighty years of age, 
and that his eyes were jaundiced ; he was, however, still handsome. 5 

leaser, P- 228. ‘Fraser, p. 227. 

229. * See p. 154 above. 

* See Professor Schmidt's Iz Isiorii sunnitsko-shiitskikh otnoshemi, p. 90. 



NADIR’S ATTAINMENTS AND CHARACTERISTICS 273 

As-Suwaidi (who was somewhat biased against Nadir) was doubtless 
exaggerating when saying that he looked as though he were an octogen- 
arian. Bazin, who was in intimate contact with him during the last few 
months of his life, described him as follows 1 : 

" Sa barbe, peinte en noire, contrastoit avec ses cheveux qui 4toient tout blancs. 
II etoit d’un temperament fort et robuste, d’une taille tres haute, et d’une grosseur 
proportionnee ; U avoit le visage basane, moins arrondi qu'allong^, sans l’etre 
pourtant trop ; le nez aquilin, la bouche assez bien fendue, la l&vre inf4rieure un 
peu excedente, les yeux petits et pergans, le regard vif et penetrant, la voie (sic) 
rude et forte, mais dont d sgavoit adoucir les sons, selon que le caprice ou l’intfret 
le demandoient.” 

Of Nadir’s character, enough has already been said to show that he 
was a man of iron will. But harsh and violent though he was, he had a 
gentler side, as he was genuinely fond of his mother* and had a great 
affection for his grandson Shahrukh. The terrible change in his character 
which was wrought by his physical condition and by the reverses of fortune 
which he suffered in his later years will be discussed later in this chapter. 

He was a very hard worker, but, when the business of the day was done, 
he would retire to a private apartment : 

"... where, unbending himself at once from Business, he sups with three or four 
Favourites, and drinks a Quart, or at most three Pints of Wine, behaving all the Time 
in the freest and most facetious Manner. In this private Conversation no Person 
is allo wed to mention any T hing relating to public Business ; nor, at other Times, 
must they presume upon this Intimacy to behave with more Familiarity t h a n their 
Equals. Two of his Evening-Companions happening to transgress in that Point, 
by talring the Liberty to advise him in Public, he immediately ordered them to be 
strangled, saying : * Such Fools were not fit to live, who could not distinguish 
between Nadir Shah and Nadir Kuli/ ” * 


Cockell, from whose Personal Description the above passage is taken, 
further stated that Nadir drank wine with moderation, hut that “ he is 
extremely addicted to Women, in which he affects great Variety, yet 
never neglects his Business on their Account.”* According to Han way,* 
Nadir had, in his later days, thirty-three women in his harem, exclusive 
of their attendants. 

Mirza Mahdi states that the things (apart from fighting) in which Nadir 


1 Bazin, pp. 315 and 3x6. 

* Bazin (p. 318) states that he seemed genuinely afflicted at her death and that he had a fine 

mosque built over her tomb. 

* Ibid^ p. P 227 23 °Malcohn I {Vol. II, p. 85 footnote) states, however, that “ a chief of the AffshAr 

informed me that his father (who was one of Nadir’s generals) used often to praise the great 
of that monarch, who never, he said, had more than two wives with hua when 
in the f feld, and was displeased with any leader who was accompanied by more than one. 

* VoL IV, pp. 268 and 269. 


t 



NADIR SHAH 


274 

took most delight in life were, first, the melons of Balkh and Herat and 
secondly, a good horse. 1 In the matter of attire, his tastes were simple 
but he developed a love of jewels which he was able fully to satisfy aftei 
he had despoiled India. 8 

Nadir showed at times that he had a sense of humour, though it was 
apt to be of rather a macabre order. ‘Abdu’l-Karim Kashmiri relates 3 
that Tahmasp Khan Jalayir, who was short, stout and very swarthy, 
was once knocked over and very nearly killed by a wild boar. When 
Nadir heard of this incident, he laughed very heartily and remarked : 
“ Little Brother was playful with Big Brother, nay rather, he was rude 
to him ! ” It is related that when Nadir was at Delhi, he was told that 
the Indian Ptimadu’d-Daula, Qamaru’d-Din Khan, had no less than 
850 women in his harem ; he thereupon gave orders for another 150 
women to be given to the Minister in order that he might qualify for the 
military rank of mim-bashi or chiliarch. 4 

When speaking, Nadir preferred to use Turki (Chaghatai or Eastern 
Turkish), but he must have been thoroughly conversant with the Persian 
language as well ; it does not appear to be on record whether he had 
any knowledge of Arabic : as he had no bent for theology or literature, 
it is unlikely that he knew that language well. 

Nadir's Health. 

During his youth and middle age Nadir enjoyed excellent health, 
but from his fiftieth year (or possibly a little earlier) he had recurrent 
physical troubles which had a most unfortunate effect upon his tempera- 
ment and behaviour. ‘Abdu’l-Karim related that he had, before his 
invasion of India, contracted a dropsical complaint which was accompanied 
at times by severe melancholia and splenetic outbursts of rage. 6 This 
disease may have been occasioned or, at any rate, aggravated by the fact 
that he had lost all his molar teeth ; further, he may have contracted 
malaria during his campaigns in Mazandaran and his march through 
Sistan. Lastly, the hardships which he had undergone during his many 
campaigns must have had some deleterious effect upon his constitution, 
robust though that had been at the outset. 

As Nadir could get no relief from the ignorant and incompetent Persian 
physicians, he engaged, when he was at Delhi, the very capable Indian 

1 T.N., p.215 (seep. 161 above). 

* As-Suwaidi gives a detailed description of the jewels which Nadir was wearing when he received 

him at Najaf (see Iz istorii, etc., p. 89) ; see also von Hammer, Vol. XV, p. 117, and Hanway, 
Vol. IV, p. 268. 

* Bay an, foil. 39 (b) and 40 (a). 

1 Malcolm, Vol. II, pp. 85 and 86. 

* Bayan, fol. 66 (b) ; the text is very corrupt, as the following words bi-mara$-i-tnaraq va istifsar 

should read H marad-i-maraqq va istiqsa in order to mak e sense. 



NADIR’S ATTAINMENTS AND CHARACTERISTICS 275 


doctor ‘AJavi Khan as his chief physician. ‘Alavi Khan did not limit 
his treatment to mere drugs and dieting, but also employed “words 
that were more bitter than the remedy ” l : in other words, he ventured to 
admonish Nadir for his outbursts of temper. Nadir was pleased at the 
doctor’s frankness, and followed his treatment, with the result that his 
state of mind as well as his bodily condition greatly improved ; in fact, 
“ for fifteen or twenty days (at a time) he would not order anyone to be 
beaten to death.” 2 

Unfortunately for Nadir, and even more so for his subjects, ‘Alavi 
Khan left his service in July, 1741 ; when deprived of the Indian doctor’s 
treatment and influence, he soon reverted to his former condition, and by 
the autumn of that year he was performing the most atrociously cruel 
actions. 8 A year later there occurred the tragic blinding of Rida Quli 
Mirza ; had Nadir been in his normal state during the preceding few 
months, he might never have condemned his son to this fate and the whole 
concluding part of his career might have been very different in consequence. 
As it was, his whole nature was changed by this event and his health suffered 
much as a result. 4 

Some time between 1742 and early in 1744, Father Damien, of Lyons, 
a Jesuit with a knowledge of medicine, treated Nadir for some form of liver 
complaint. 5 In June or July, 1745, he was taken seriously ill when near 
Miyanduab and had to be carried in a litter for several stages •; either then 
or shortly after he was again tended by a Jesuit, but it is not recorded 
whether it was this Pbre Damien.’ In December, 1746, his health was 
once more a subject of concern, and he feared that a serious illness was 
imminent. Being profoundly dissatisfied with his own physicians, he 
requested Peirson, the chief representative of the East India Company 
at Isfahan, to procure a European doctor for him. Peirson was much 
perplexed, as he did not know where he could find one, but, on his attrition 
being drawn to P£re Bazin, he introduced him to the Shah. Nadir was 
pleased with the Jesuit, and made him his^ chief physician. ^ Bazin, on 
examining Nadir, found that he was suffering from dropsy in an early 
stage (une hydropisie commenced)) and that he had frequent attacks ca 
vomiting, accompanied by severe constipation and liver trouble.* 

It may have been on the strength of Bazin’s diagnosis that Byron after- 
wards wrote the following lines * : 


1 Bayan, fol. 99 (b). * Ibid. »B«w, p. 29©. 

* Mirza Mahdi (T.N., p. 263) and Muhammad Kapm {N.N., p. 493). 

‘ Pfere des Vignes, p. 407. *, P* 249 £?**■ 

* Gombroon Diary, 5th/i6th October, 1745. * Banw P- 3°4- _ . 

* Don Tuan Canto No. IX, radii . The edition of Byron’s works that was pubiishedm London 
^ in 1833 has, in Vol. XVI, p. 289, the following footnote relating to theiines 

" He (Nadir) was aialn in a conspiracy, after his temper had been exasperated by his extreme 
costivity to a degree of insanity.*' 



2j6 


NADIR SHAH 


“ Oh ! ye who build up monuments defiled, 

With gore, like Nadir Shah, that costive sophy, 

Who, after leaving Hindostan a wild, 

And scarce to the Mogul a cup of coffee 
To soothe his woes withal, was slain, the sinner ! 

Because he could no more digest his dinner ! ” 

Bazin began his medical treatment when Nadir was at Kirman, at the 
beginning of 1747. He almost succeeded in effecting a cure, but Nadir 
recommenced his cruelties on reaching Mashhad 1 ; Bazin fails to make it 
clear whether Nadir’s renewed brutalities were due to his discontinuing 
the treatment or whether the news of the various revolts, together with 
the fatigue caused by the trying march across the desert, proved too much 
for his already very unstable mental condition. 

Whilst it would be going too far to assert that Nadir’s frenzied outbursts 
were always due to physical causes, there seems to be no doubt that, 
during his later years, his bodily condition rendered him liable to become 
unduly affected, mentally by happenings of an unpleasant nature. On 
comparing the data furnished by ‘Abdu’l-Karim, des Yignes and Bazin, 
one is, it seems, justified in assuming that' Nadir’s intestinal troubles 
and the accompanying lack of mental equilibrium had not only continued, 
but had grown progressively worse, during the last few years of his life. 
His bodily ailments affected his mind, and, as already stated, when he was 
so afflicted by the Rida Quli incident, his mind, in turn adversely affected 
his body ; it was indeed a vicious circle. Nadir’s attacks of frenzy 
became, as time went on, periods of actual insanity which recurred with 
increasing frequency, and there is no doubt that he was completely out 
of his mind during the last month or two of his life. Consideration of 
Nadir’s case tempts one to suggest that an interesting study might be 
made of the extent to which the course of history has been influenced by 
the effect of the health of great men upon their temperaments and conse- 
quently upon their actions. 

Nadir and the Arts. 

The arts, save for that of war, did not flourish in Nadir’s time ; it 
was a period when the sword was far mightier than the pen. Lutf ‘Ali 
Beg, who was born in 1711, remarked, in his work the Atash-Kada 
(“ Fire-temple ”), upon the great dearth of men of letters during the 
years from 1722 to 1772. In the portion of his book entitled the Ahwal-i- 
Mu* asirin (“ Conditions of Contemporaries ”), Lutf ‘Ali Beg, after giving 
an historical outline of the half-century preceding the advent of Karim. 
Khan, mentions a number of his contemporaries who wrote poetry.. 

1 Bazin, p. 310. 




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NADIR’S ATTAINMENTS AND CHARACTERISTICS 277 


None of these poets, except Shaikh ‘Ali Hazin, achieved any lasting fame ; 
one was Aqa Taqi Sahba, who was also Nadir’s court physician, but he 
seems to have been as mediocre in the field of poetry as he was in that of 
medicine. 

If we exclude Lutf ‘Ali Beg (who did not begin the compilation of the 
Atash-Kada until thirteen years after Nadir’s death), the two chief literary 
figures of the day were Mirza Mahdi and Shaikh IJazin, of whom more 
will be said in Appendix III. 

Nadir seems to have had but scant liking for literature, yet, unlettered 
though he was, he was one of the two most generous donors to the library 
of the Sahn of the Imam Rida at Mashhad, to which he presented 400 
manuscripts. 1 Further, it must not be overlooked that it was at his orders 
that the Tarikh-i-Nadiri was written, and that he also commissioned the 
Indian poet Muframmad ‘Ali Beg to compose the poem known as the 
Nadir Shah-Nama ? The only poet for whom Nadir appeared to have 
any regard was Hafiz, but it is possible that his interest in the. famous 
ghazals may have been confined to the drawing of fals or auguries from 

them. . , 

In the construction of towns and buildings Nadir was much more active. 
Mention has already been made of his building of New Shamakhi, Nadir- 
abad and Khivaqabad, of his additions to the shrine of the Imam Rida 
at Mas hh ad, and of the erection of his maulud-khana at Dastgird and his 
treasure houses at Kalat. Shiraz benefited for a time at his behest, and 
it was not his fault that most, if not all, of his improvements were undone 
in consequence of Taqi Khan’s revolt. He did practicahy nothing for 
Isfahan, but at Qazvin he erected a new palace, of which Hanway nas 
given a description. At Ashraf, in Mazandaran, he built a palace 
as the Chihil Sutun, which Sir William Ouseley has described and depicted 


in his Travels.* , . ... 1r • . 1 

Whilst Nadir was at Delhi, he had several portraits of himself parted, 
one of which an Indian named Ghuiam MuhiVd-Dm presented to 
Richard Benyon, the Governor at Madras in March, 1740. 

There are two portraits of Nadir in London, one being at 
Office, and the other at the India Museum, South Kensington ; *hough 
it is known that they are both by XVIIIth century Persian 
impossible to say whether they are really contemporary. ' _ 
Vansittart, who was Governor of Fort William from 17 N 

the portrait that is now in the India Office ; it was reputed, 

, » gee P- I 30 > note to above. 

1 De Khanikoff, op- oit., pp. ioo and ioi. . . a r &l&oe the CMh il 

1 Vol. Ill, p. 270 and plate No. LXXI. Sha b A b . ^ |S?saponballt this w* 

Sutun there, but it was accidentally burnt down in Nadir's tune , 

4 Dodwell’s A Calendar of the Mnd/r/tx v* 



NADIR SHAH 


278 

to be an original. His son, the Rt. Hon. Nicholas Vansittart, presented 
this picture to the East India Company in February, 1822. 1 The history 
of the India Museum portrait (No. I.M. 20-1919) cannot be traced as 
far back ; it is said to have been brought from India in 1800 or possibly 
a little earlier ; it was for a long time in the possession of the Willoughby 
family, and was presented to the India Museum by G. F. Welsford, M.D., 
in 1919. The head in this portrait is similar in every detail to that in the 
India Office picture. Mr. C. Stanley Clarke, of the Victoria and Albert 
Museum, in a letter to Mr. (now Sir) W. Foster dated the 3rd June, 
1919, stated that “Both paintings are Persian of bad period — strongly 
European influenced.” 2 

To return to Nadir. In 1743, or perhaps later, he engaged, through 
the medium of Captain John Elton, a young painter named Cassel or 
Cassels, 3 who painted eight battle pictures for him. 4 

Nadir's Attitude towards Religion. 

While uncertainty exists whether 'Nadir was Shi‘a or Sunni to start with, 6 
there seems no doubt that, in his later years at any rate, he had no real 
religious convictions. Bazin, who was certainly as well qualified as anyone 
to judge, said 8 : 

“ II seroit difficile de decider de quelle Religion il etoit. Plusieurs de ceux qui 
croyerit l'avoir mieux connu, pr6tendent qu’il n’en avoit aucune. II disoit quel- 
quefois assez publiquement qu’il s’estimoit autant que Mahomet et Ali; qu’ils 
n’&oient si grands que parce qu’ils £toient bons guerriers ; et qu'apr&s tout, il 
croyoit avoir atteint le degre de gloire qu’ils avoient acquise par les armes.” 

Nadir had many faults, but religious fanaticism was not one of them ; 
it is true that he persecuted the Shi ‘a, but he did so for purely secular 
reasons. 

A good deal has already been said respecting Nadir’s attempt to fuse 
the Sunnis and the Shi ‘a into one body by forcibly making his Shi‘a subjects 

1 See the Descriptive Catalogue of the Paintings, Statues, etc., in the India Office, by Sir William 
Foster. 

* I am indebted to Mr. W. T. Ottewill, the Superintendent of Records at the India Office, for this 
information. The India Museum authorities have most kindly allowed me to use a repro- 
duction of the portrait there as the frontispiece of this book. 

•The Russia Company, in a memorandum dated the 13th /24th January, 1744, on the subject 
of the Russian charges against Elton, stated : “ None of the people who were with Mr. 
Elton are entered into the service of the Shah, excepting one Cassel, a German Painter, 
to whom he gives a salary of 1,000 Roubles per annum to paint his Battles." For details 
of the manner in which Cassel (who was half-English and half-Prussian) is alleged to have 
behaved to Elton, see Cook, Vol. II, p. 514. 

4 It is possible that some of these pictures were afterwards housed in the palace which Agha 
Muhammad Shah built at San, which, according to Curzon (Vol. I, p. 379). " contained 
pictures of the battles of Shah Ismail and Nadir Shah." 

•For the reason for suggesting that Nadir may have been originally a Shi' a, see p. 21 above. 
♦Bazin, p. 318. 



NADIR’S ATTAINMENTS AND CHARACTERISTICS 279 


abjure their faith. This policy was a complete reversal of that of Shah 
Ismael and his successors, who had fully appreciated the essential nature 
of the r6le played by the Shi'a doctrine in welding the various peoples 
of Persia into a nation. But Nadir was international rather than national 
in his outlook, and his dreams of dominion extended far beyond the confines 
of the Safavi empire. Consequently, as already indicated, he may have 
conceived the project of making himself the head of a united Moslem 
world. 

Nadir’s adoption of the term Ja‘fari to designate the fifth sect of the 
Sunnis which the Persian people were to form is somewhat mystifying ; 
his action made the word ambiguous, because it was still in use in hk 
time in a purely Shi‘a connexion. Ja'faru’s-Sadiq, the sixth of the Imams, 
who had been a great exponent of Shi‘a jurisprudence ( Jiqh ), had founded 
a sect ( madhhab\ in opposition to the four orthodox divisions of the Sunnis, 
which was called Ja‘fari after him. 1 Nadir may have intended the term 
Ja'fari to be sugaring for the Sunni pill which the majority of his Persian 
subjects would otherwise have found even more difficult to swallow ; 
on the other hand, he and his advisers must have realized that this term, 
by reason of its strong Shi 4 a association, would be displeasing to such rigid 

Sunnis as the Ottoman Turks. # 

Nadir was most tolerant towards his Christian subjects, with whose 
freedom of worship he never interfered ; the Armenian Catholicos 
Abraham spoke in the highest terms of his good treatment at the hands of 
Nadir, who even attended service in the cathedral at Echmiadzin. The 
Catholicos subsequently received a special invitation to the great assembly 
on the Mughan plain, where, on his arrival, he “ was the object of particular 
attention,” and was given, at Nadir’s orders, a daily subsistence allowance.* 
Nadir scandalized the more rigid of the Shi‘a by settling a large number ot 
Armenians from Nakhicheven at Mashhad, where, to the horror of pious 
Muslims like Muhammad Kazim, they were allowed openly to practise 

their religion and to open wine shops. 8 . . . . 

Nadir raised no objection to the presence of foreign missionaries in 
Persia ; there were a number of Jesuits and Carmelites at Isfahan, ana 


1 Euetae Aubia’s article. Le Chiism et la Nationals Persaxe in ^\ Revue J^ 

tv No * (March 1008) p. 463. It is to be noted that, according to the Qifafttl- 

Buwavhid period named Sayyid Mortal sought to persuade 


the Turkish 'viama had any cognisance 01 it 
* Catholicos Abraham, p. 270. 

•JV.1V., p. 336- 



a8o 


NADIR SHAH 


several others (mostly, if not all, Jesuits) were in Gilan. Mention has 
already been made of the Shah’s employment of P&res Damien and Bazin 
as his physicians. 

Pfcre des Yignes, writing from Julfa in May, 1744, stated that there 
were no less than twenty-two Orthodox (“ schismatique ,” according to 
him) and four Catholic churches there ; the population of the suburb was 
10,000 at that time. 1 

It was, apparently, during Nadir’s Indian expedition that his interest 
was aroused by Sura XLVIII (Suratu’l-Fath) of the Qur’an, where, in verse 
29, reference is made to the Pentateuch (Taurat) and the Gospels ( Injil ). a 
He asked the Mulla-Bashi (‘Ali Akbar) if the Pentateuch and Gospels 
were extant ; on receiving an affirmative reply, he ordered Mirza Mahdi 
to arrange for a Persian translation of both to be made. The preliminary 
steps must have been made by letter from India, because the Gombroon 
Agent received a letter from the Isfahan “ linguist,” early in June, 1740, 
to the effect that : 

“ Shaw Nadir . . . has appointed Moolahs to make a Translation of the Bible, 
Jewish Talmud and Mahumetan Alkoran, who were for coming to be in our house 
(at Isfahan) but he (the ‘linguist’) prevented them .” 3 

P&re des Vignes states that Nadir sent a mulla to Isfahan with orders 
to collect such Jews, Armenians and “ Francs ” as were considered neces- 
sary for the work of translation. 4 According to the same authority, the 
work began in May, 1740, and lasted for six months. 5 Two Roman 
Catholic missionaries and two Armenian Catholics, two Orthodox 
Armenian monks and two priests undertook the translation of the New 
Testament, while Jewish rabbis translated the Old Testament. Some 
disagreement arose between the Catholic and Orthodox collaborators ; 
as to this, P&re des Yignes wrote : 

“ we had the consolation of seeing that in almost all these disputes the Mu ham madan 
(i.e., the mulla in charge of the work), guided solely by reason, decided in favour of 
the Catholic statements. ...” 

The Qur’an was also translated into Persian. 

1 Lettres Edijiantes , Vol. IV, p. 364. 

* For an English translation of this verse, see Rod well’s The Koran , London, 1911, p. 463. 

8 Gombroon Diary , 4th /15th June, 1740. ‘Abdul-Karim (. Bayan , foil. 65 (b) and 66 (a)) says that 
Nadir first became interested in the matter during the Tnrkistan expedition, but this is 
impossible ; it is clear from the Gombroon Diary (and, as will be seen, from P&re des Vignes’ s 
account) that the instructions for the translations to be made were received in Isfahan 
before the start of the expedition to Bukhara and Khiva. 

♦ Pfere des Vignes, op . cit pp. 402-404. 

11 A copy of the Persian translation of the Gospels, made under the supervision of Pfere Lagarde 
in Gilan in 1746, is in the Bibliothfeque Nationale, in Paris. See Blochet's Catalogue des 
Manuscrits Persans . . . Vol. I, p. 6, No. 7. 



NADIR’S ATTAINMENTS AND CHARACTERISTICS *8, 

to appear before thtf Shah atAIazvf * ete 4^ e p rans * a£ore were summoned 
Isfahan, two Catholic missioL rieAnrf f The A Rom “ C ?*Mc Bishop of 
with the mulla in charge proSded t %Z f- Imcn, f bl *°P s . togWher 

them graciously and pfid 4em foAheiAxpeS TASA 
however, that he bH nn ^ • x P e . nses en route. He stated, 

was on, /one &d,“ e”°c„ *« 

disappointed the pious translators who had hoped thaJmuch ^/^^ 
accrue to the Christian faith • A p Q tJiat _much good would 

lUttK.xv, j tv J , i“./ aith m • Fersia b y reason of their work i 
Muhammad Mahdi ibn Muhammad Rida, of Isfahan rdatt tW 

After" tTLl ad a C n er j at10 ^ Wit - h a hol y man regarding 'Paradise" 

asked : “Are 7 there suc^things^a/ 8 WOnd f s and de % hts > the Shah 
enemy in Paradise ? ” On 7 k f i ^ overco ™ng of one’s 

remarked “ How A ° the holy man replying in the negative, Nadir 
thi'c * How then can there be any delights there ? Although 
th,s story may be apocryphal, it certainly sounds ben Vova*. g 

account by the ^axmelitefr£r"u;tidro e dfsan t ti e c SOI T^ W ^ a ' t b^ ii o rent 30(1 less w ^-infcrmed 

■ ■ - dell’Oriente, Rome? ™, n Persia Ov Vero Seconda VizgZ 

on receiving the translators 7 ' ridiculed alike’the d ? S oth , er authorities, Nadir, 

and declared that, if God vouchsafed him life he wmH 3 ?’ J ewis h .and Muhammadan faiths 
than all those which had teen known ™ «h tw + W gI T 6 m3nkuid a muci better religion 
Vol. IV, pp. are-ip, and Otter Vo°Tln is6e ’ “^.connection, Hanway, 

that, according to Rambaud’s Histoire d^ia jSw;, thlS bon . it is of interest to note 

when speaking to Lord Hvndforri fhp 'RrificR a ^ Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, 

of Prussia : '®Il t^me e?Se li^Ws “■ fo ’ Iows to F «deiS 

Nadir Chah de la Prusse ” ^ mteS; 11 ne va J amais * I’^gUse ; c'est le 

* yhsf-i-Jahan.fi Ta'rikh-i-Isfahan, fol. x 93 (a). 



APPENDIX I 


THE BRITISH IN PERSIA, 1729-1747 

During Nadir’s period of power, Great Britain had not, despite her fairly 
considerable commercial interests in Persia, any diplomatic or consular 
representatives in the country. 1 "While the Dutch were also, strangely enough, 
unrepresented in this way, the Russians maintained, for the greater part of 
the time, a Resident at the Court, as well as a Consul in Gilan. France, 
whose stake in the country was smaller than those of the three powers mentioned 
above, had a Consul at Isfahan until May, 1730. 2 

Nadir’s first contact with the British was, as will be seen below, in November, 
1729. Hanway relates that he more than once remarked of the English that 
“ they are bold, and appear like men of business.” 3 

Save for Dr. Cook at the end of Nadir’s reign and for sundry officers and men 
of the Mercantile Marine who belonged to independently owned vessels, no 
persons of British nationality other than those in the service of, or connected 
with, the East India and Russia Companies visited Persia during the period 
under review. 

Since the Russia Company did not actively concern itself with Persia until 
1739, the affairs of the East India Company will be dealt with first. 


Part I • 

THE EAST INDIA COMPANY 

It would be easy to fill at least one volume with the record of the East 
India Company’s affairs in Persia between 1729 and 1747. Space, however, 
ony permits of a brief summary being given. 

During the period under review, the Company maintained establishments 
at Gombroon, Isfahan (for part of the time on a greatly reduced scale), Kirman 
and Shiraz. It was, on the whole, a most unfavourable time for trading in 
Persia. The invasions by the Afghans, Turks and Russians and the state 
of insecurity prevailing in many parts had brought about severe economic 
depression. When, through Nadir’s military exploits, the invaders were 
driven out and Tahmasp was established on his throne in Isfahan, the hopes 

1 Captain Elton recommended, probably in 1743, that one of the British subjects in Gilan should 
be appointed British Consul there, but the British Government took no action. (See Hanway, 
Vol. II, p. 28.) 

'The establishment of a French Consul at Isfahan and of a Persian Consul at Marseilles dated 
from the dose of the reign of Louis XIV, and resulted from the treaty which a French envoy 
named Michel had negotiated at Isfahan in 1708. 

'Vol. I, p. 258. 

282 



APPENDIX I 


283 

of the Company, as of the community at large, for the coming of a more settled 
and prosperous era were aroused. Unfortunately, such hopes were vain, 
for Nadir was no economist, and soon showed that he had little or no regard 
for the encouragement of trade, whether Persian or foreign. All that he wanted 
was the unfailing provision of men, money and supplies, in order that he might 
carry out his martial aims. As has already been pointed out, he seemed to 
have no conception that his extortionate ways were rapidly ruining the country. 

Although he was, at the outset, friendly to the Isfahan representatives 
of the Company, it was not long before his attitude completely changed. 1 
In general, the English and Dutch Companies were on bad terms with each 
other, and it was therefore easy for him to play off one concern against the 
other. 

It was customary, and in fact necessary, in those times for the companies 
to make periodical gifts to influential ministers, governors and lesser officials. 
In this respect, the Dutch Company had a considerable advantage over its 
rival, because, owing to its being almost a national enterprise, it had more 
funds at its disposal. Consequently, it nearly always led the way with presents 
and, by their more lavish scale, it was sometimes able to secure concessions 
that were denied to its poorer rival. Moreover, the English Agent frequently 
got reprimanded by Bombay and London for making presents at all, although, 
under the then existing conditions, little or nothing could be accomplished 
without this means of securing the good will of influential persons. 2 It was 
the misfortune of the Company that, for nearly ten years, it had to conduct 
most of its business with the Government through the medium of Muhammad 
Taqi Khan Shirazi, the corrupt Beglarbegi of Fars. 3 

The Company was extremely anxious to secure from the Government the 
renewal of certain privileges which it had lost 4 ; the most important of these 
were the right of being customs-free at Gombroon and, secondly, the grant 
of one-half of the customs receipts at that part. Further, there was its claim 
for the repayment of a loan of 3,000 tomans to Shah Sultan Husain, as well 
as for compensation for sundry losses. 

Shah Tahmasp showed himself very favourably inclined towards the 
Company, and promised to make amends for its losses, but it soon became 
evident that he was in no position to carry out his undertakings. 

It was in the matter of shipping that Nadir sought to make most use of the 
Dutch and English Companies ; he made it clear to them both that they 
could expect no redress of their grievances unless they met his wishes in this 


1 See p. 41 above. 

* Letter Book No. 26 of the East India Co. contains a letter from London to Gombroon dated 

the 13th /24th March, 1743, which, after inveighing against extravagance and threatening 
to tnaVft the Agent and Council personally responsible for any excess of expenditure over 
die authorised figure, " whether for Presents to obtain Rogums (ra gams), except for being 
Customs Free, which otherwise are of no Value to Us, nor indeed ever have been," concluded 
with the usual quaint formula of " Your loving friends.” 

* Otter (Vol. II, p. 86) well described Taqi Khan as " un homme de mauvaise foi et avide de 

prdsens.” See also the letter dated the 1 8th /29th November, 1739, which Otter wrote to 
Beaumont, the Agent of the Compagnie des Indes at Gombroon, fol. 48 (a) of MS. 53^5 
[Nouvelles acquisitions frangaises) in the BibliothSque Nationale, Paris. 

* For an excellent account of these privileges as originally granted, see Sir W. Foster's England’s 

Quest of Eastern Trade (London, 1933), p. 3x2. 



NADIR SHAH 


284 

respect. The English Company, like the Dutch, often found it most incon- 
venient, for purely commercial reasons, to lend its ships to the Persian Govern- 
ment. Moreover, it feared that, if it did so, its vessels might be used against 
the Turks. As it had a factory at Basra, it was apprehensive lest the Turks 
should seize its effects and maltreat its representatives there, in retaliation 
for such use. For similar reasons, it was averse to its shipping being employed 
against the Arabs of Muscat and elsewhere. 

The Company adopted, as an alternative, the sale of ships to Nadir. Then 
followed a long contest between the Company and the Shah, the former 
promising ships in return for the restoration of its former privileges and the 
latter stating that he would do nothing in this respect unless his naval require- 
ments were met. Needless to say, he always found some excuse to defer 
granting all that the Company wanted. In return for its services for procuring 
ships, the Company recovered certain of its privileges, notably the payment 
for a time of 1,000 tomans a year out of the customs receipts at Gombroon, 
and was later granted in lieu thereof one-third of the customs on freight borne 
by its own vessels, 1 but it never obtained its chief desideratum, namely, that 
of being custo ms -free at Gombroon. It was not deemed to be in the Company’s 
interests that Nadir should have a strong fleet in the Gulf, 2 and measures 
were taken to prevent “ unauthorised ” sales of vessels to the Persians, because 
such sales had naturally had an adverse effect upon its bargaining powers. 

The unfortunate naval affair during the siege of Basra in May, 1735, seemed 
at first certain to precipitate a crisis between Nadir and the Company, but the 
pressing needs of the Shah for additions to his fleet caused him to show no 
resentment. 3 

Meanwhile, in March, 1735, the Company’s factory at Isfahan had been 
practically closed down. Geekie, the Resident there, was withdrawn, and the 
establishment was left in charge of Hermet, the " linguist.” 4 5 The main 
reason for this step was the decline in trade and the growing difficulty in re- 
covering debts owing to the Company, due to the increasing impoverishment 
of the inhabitants (at a later date, Nadir’s choice of Mashhad as his capital 
caused the star of Isfahan to wane still further). Further, the Company’s 
troubles with the Government, which were largely occasioned by the latter’s 
exactions, were an additional reason for the withdrawal. The provisioning 
of the Qandahar expeditionary force, as already related, 6 interfered seriously 

1 Gombroon Diary, 12th. /23rd March, 1737. 

1 See the summary of a letter from the Bombay Presidency dated the 21st November, 1741, in 
H. H. Dodwell's A Calendar of the Madras Records, 1740-1744, p. 230. In order to prevent 
these sales, as well as to keep the Persian navy from becoming too strong, the Bombay 
Presidency, in 1741, decided to permit no vessel to proceed to a Persian port until the owner 
had given a bond not to sell her to the Persians without permission, under a penalty of 
40,000 Rs. (See Dodwell, op, cit., page 230). Despite these measures, a vessel named the 
Robert was disposed of at Bushire in January, 1742, without authorisation by the Company ; 
the owner sold the vessel for 1,000 tomans, but Taqi Khan retained 1 50 tomans as his com- 
mission. 

* See p. 94 above. The Company was, of course, entirely blameless in the matter, but Taqi 
Khan threatened the Agent that Nadir would, if the reports of the incident proved correct, 
" put a Ring in our Ears which We Shall remember to the Day of Judgement." {Gombroon 
Diary, i6th/27th July, t735.) 

4 Gombroon Diary, 28th March /8th April and 2nd /13th April, 1735. 

5 See p. 113 above. 



APPENDIX I 


28^ 

with the Company’s transport arrangements, consignments of wool from 
Kirman to Gombroon being greatly delayed owing to the lack of camels and 
mules. 

In February, 1742, Taqi Khan gave fresh proofs of his dishonesty. The 
Company had, shortly before, delivered two vessels to the Government, 
for which it had received 8,000 tomans on account ; another 1,300 tomans 
remained to be paid. Taqi Khan privately requested the Company not only 
to forgo any further payment, but to give him a receipt (to be forwarded 
to Nadir) for 10,000 tomans. As the Agent considered that a complaint to 
Nadir would not only be useless, 1 but would merely result in arousing the 
Beglarbegi’s enmity, he compromised by agreeing to receive another 800 
tomans and to waive all claim to the remaining 500. 2 

The attempt by certain members of the Russia Company (see Part II of 
this Appendix) to establish themselves in Northern Persia and to secure a 
share of the trade in woollen goods, caused the East India Company to take 
up the challenge, and it sent two European factors to Isfahan in the early 
summer of 1742, to reopen the factory there on the former basis. 3 It was. 
also proposed to open a factory at Mashhad, but this project was not approved 
by the London management. 

Peirson, the new Resident at Isfahan, sent Hermet to the Shah’s camp 
in July, 1743, in order to make a further attempt to secure the renewal of the 
Company's privileges ; this step was taken partly because of the endeavours 
of the Russia Company merchants to secure privileges from the Shah. . When 
Hermet reached the camp, he was interviewed by Mirza Mahdi, who said that 
it would not only be useless, but also most injudicious for him to appear before 
Nadir unless he could make him a suitable present. When he found that 
Hermet was not in a position to make any present to the Shah, he advised him. 
to return to Isfahan; although Hermet offered Mirza Mahdi 100 tomans, 
the latter refused to take any action, and he was honest enough not to take the 
bribe. 4 

The 'Oman campaign, by reason of the requisitioning of supplies and heavy 
taxation which it occasioned, had a bad effect upon trade in southern Persia. 
The revolt of Taqi Khan in 1744 caused a further set-back to trade. It is. 
stated in the Gombroon Diary 8 that the Dutch, in concert with the Shahbandar 
of Gombroon, drew up and sent to Nadir a document charging the East India. 
Company with complicity in Taqi Khan’s revolt. The Agent, on the old. 
“ tu quoque ” principle, retaliated by making a counter-charge against the 
Dutch. 

Trading conditions were most unfavourable during the concluding years- 
of Nadir’s reign, as his extortionate ways became more burdensome than 

1 Nadir’s toleration of Taqi Khan’s misdemeanours was remarkable. It is stated in the Gombroon 
Diary (13th /24th March, 1742) that it was discovered, after Taqi Khan’s dismissal from his. 
post in 1740, that he had embezzled 1,500 tomans. _ On this_ matter being reported to Nadir, 
he merely ordered Taqi Khan to pay up the sum in question. 

* Gombroon Diary, 20th February /3rd March, 1742. See also Otter, Vol. II, pp. 162-3 {he gives, 

however, an incomplete account of this incident, as he was not in possession of all the facts). 

* See the reference, in the Gombroon Diary of the 6th /17th August, X 743 > Peirson’s letter from. 

Isfahan of the i6th/27th July. 

* Gombroon Diary, 20th /31st December, ’1743. 

* Thid.. iothhist April, 1744. 



286 


NADIR SHAH 


ever. 1 When he was at Kirman in the early part of 1747, he forced Graves, 
the Company’s representative there, to give him a draft on the Isfahan office 
for 1,100 tomans, which he sent to the Isfahan authorities for collection. 
When the draft was presented for payment, Peirson. had insufficient funds 
in hand to meet it, and was forced to borrow in order to make up the required 
total. In reporting the matter to Gombroon, he stated that he had had very 
great difficulty in arranging this loan. It is a proof of the insecurity of those 
times that the minimum rate at which money was then available on loan at 
Isfahan was 15 per cent, per mensem . 2 

The Shah’s conduct was so unreasonable and trading conditions were so 
bad that the Company more than once contemplated the complete abandon- 
ment of its Persian business. It nevertheless persevered, and, in due course, 
it weathered the storm. 

As for the Dutch, they fared no better than their British rivals during these 
troubled times. The French Compagnie des Indes, in pursuance of Dupleix’s 
policy of expansion, 3 made a most ill-timed endeavour to re-establish its trade 
at Gombroon in 1740. 4 After suffering severely at the hands of Taqi Khan 
(who on one occasion confiscated a French vessel and held the captain to 
ransom), 5 and losing its Agent and his assistant through illness, 6 the Company 
appointed a new Agent, Duplessis by name, who endeavoured, but without 
success, to secure a share in the Kirman wool trade. Realising the futility 
of continuing the factory under the then existing conditions, 7 the Company 
recalled Duplessis, who left Gombroon in July, 1743. Although the factory 
there was closed, French vessels continued to call at irregular intervals and 
to carry on some trade with the merchants at Gombroon and Bushire. 


Part II 

THE RUSSIA COMPANY 

After Peter the Great had conquered the littoral of Daghistan and Shirvan 
and had occupied Gilan, he endeavoured to stimulate trade and industry in his 
new dominions by inviting the English to revive their former trade with 
Persia through Russia. 8 Although nothing came of this project during Peter’s 

1 Dorrill informed London on the 5th /16th December, 1745, that " the Name of Trade is forgot 
... in Persia/’ owing to the continued revolts and disturbances. 

8 Letter from Peirson and Blandy to London dated the 1 6th /27th May, 1747. 

4 H. Castonnet des Fosses, Les Relations de la France avec la Perse , Angers, 1889, p. 30. 

* Otter (Vol. II, pp. 86 and 87) strongly advised the Company’s representative not to proceed 

with the project. 

5 Otter, Vol. II, p. 156. 

* A. Martmeau, Le Premier Consulat de France h Bassora . . , p. 69. Gombroon Diary. 19th Moth 

October, 1740. J 

1 1 bidem . . In Martineau’s words, the French “ etaient obliges de snbir tous les caprices des 
autoritds locales. Ces caprices etaient souvent d6raisonnables, pourtant ils allaient rarement 
jusqu’i la persecution.” See also R. Vadala, Le Golfe Persique , Paris, 1920, p. no. 

Haiiway, Vol. I, p. 13. See also W. Tooke's View of the Russian Empire under Catherine II 
(London, 1800), Vol. Ill, p. 446. 



APPENDIX I 


287 

lifetime, a most important step towards its realisation was taken in 1734, 
when the commercial treaty between Great Britain and Russia was concluded. 
In clause VIII of this treaty provision was made for British merchants to send 
their goods in transit through Russia to Persia or vice versa on payment of a 
duty of 3 per cent, ad valorem.' 1 

It was not until that “ enterprising but indiscreet Englishman,” 2 Captain 
John Elton, paid his first visit to Persia in 1739, that advantage was taken 
of the above privilege. Elton, whilst employed by the Russian Government 
on the Orenburg expedition, had made several vain attempts to travel from 
the Yayiq (Ural) river to the Sea of Aral and thence on to Khiva and Bukhara. 
The primary object of his journey to Persia in 1739, with the young Scotsman 
Mungo Graeme, was to open up trade with “ the Bucharies ” (as he termed 
Bukhara and Khiva) via Astarabad. Reference has been made in Chapter 
XVIII to the trading privileges which Rida Quli Mirza accorded to Elton and 
Graeme in August, 1739, and (in Chapter XIX) to the journey of Thompson 
and Hogg to Khiva and Bukhara in 1740-41. Leaving Graeme behind in 
Persia. Elton returned to St. Petersburg, where he arrived at the end of 
January, 1740. He gave glowing accounts to the British merchants at St. 
Petersburg of the prospects of the trade with Persia, and in July, 1740, he 
wrote a long memorandum in which he set forth the privileges which, he 
considered, should be secured from the Russian Government in order that the 
transit trade might be carried on. He wrote another memorandum for the 
information of Edward Finch, the British Minister at St. Petersburg, in 
which he gave particulars of his scheme and drew attention to the advantages 
which the British traders would enjoy. 3 He pointed out the importance of 
Mashhad, which Nadir had made his capital, but stated that its trade was of 
less importance than that with " the Bucharies,” Kabul, Qandahar, India 
and even Tibet, which could be carried on through Mashhad. It was, he 
said, essential for the success of the project that the British merchants 
should have their own vessels on the Volga and Caspian. The costs in- 
volved in sending British woollen goods by the Russian route would, he 
continued, be certainly far less than the freight on such goods when sent 
via India or Turkey. In Persia itself the position was eminently favour- 
able ; Rida Quli had thoroughly subdued the troublesome Turkoman and 
Ozbeg tribesmen on the north-east frontier. As to trade rivals) the East 
India Company had had to withdraw from Isfahan some years before, and the 
Dutch, although they remained there, were doing but little business. Lastly, 
much profit could be made out of Gilan silk. 

Finch forwarded copies of these memoranda to London, together with a 
translation of Rida Quli Mirza’s decree 4 in favour of the British merchants, 
and on the 9th August, 1740, 5 he reported that the Russian Government “ en- 
tertains a good Opinion of the Undertaking and seems likely to encourage it.” 

1 The text of this clause is given by Hanway, Vol. I, pp. 47 and 48. 

1 Malcolm, Vol. II, p. 102. . 

* For the text see The Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol. XII (1742), pp. 21-25. (This memorandum 

is the “ pompous memorial ” which Hanway quotes in his Vol. I, pp. 35 ‘ 4 2 -) 

4 A. translation of this decree is given in The Gentleman’s Magazine, I74 2 > Vol. XII, pp. 25 and 26. 

See also Hanway, Vol. I, pp. 30-33. 

* S.P. 91, Vol. XXIV. 



288 


NADIR SHAH 


The Russia Company in London was favourably impressed with Elton’s 
arguments. Since the establishment of trade on the lines which he proposed 
would involve an infringement of the rights of the Levant Company, the 
Russia Company entered into negotiations with the Board of Trade, 1 with 
the result that, in 1741, an Act of Parliament 2 was passed which regularised 
the matter, despite the opposition of the Levant Company. 

In the meantime, Thompson and Hogg had left St. Petersburg for Khiva 
and Bukhara. They reached Khiva safely, but were detained there during 
Nadir’s siege of the town in November, 1740. Thompson went on to Bukhara 
in the following year. He stated that in both Khiva and Bukhara “ no 
foreign commodity bears a price proportionate to the risque of bringing it 
to market.” 3 

Particulars have already been given of how Elton and Woodroofe, after 
being entrusted with a cargo of goods by certain of the British merchants 
at St. Petersburg (it is important to note that the Russia Company did not 
trade in its corporate capacity with Persia), reached Persia in June, 1742, 
and of how Russian animosity was aroused by their carrying cargoes of rice 
from Enzeli to Darband for the Persian troops in Daghistan. 4 The Russian 
authorities were alarmed when Elton made a survey for the Shah of the 
south-east coast of the Caspian. 5 Then came reports of Elton having entered 
the Shah’s service and of his shipbuilding activities on Nadir’s behalf. 

The Russian Government protested againt Elton’s conduct, but the Company 
believed at first that the charges against him were based upon false and 
malicious reports by Armenian and Russian merchants. On further protests 
being made, some of the British merchants in St. Petersburg who were in- 
terested in the Persian trade sent Jonas Hanway to Persia on a mission of 
investigation. 6 Others of the merchants remained, however, firm believers 
in, and supporters of, Elton. 7 Hanway has described in great detail his ex- 

E eriences in Persia and his discussions with Elton and others. It seems clear 
:om a hitherto unpublished letter 8 which he wrote to London from Astrakhan 
when on his way back from Persia that he then (November, 1744) entertained 
a more favourable idea of Elton and his activities than he afterwards allowed 
to appear in his published record. 

Notwithstanding Russian opposition, some progress was made with the 
Persian trade venture. A factory was established at Mashhad, and the 


1 For details of the conferences held at the Board of Trade, see the Journal of the Commissioners 
for Trade and Plantations, January, 1734 /5 to December, 1741, Vol. XLVIII, pp. 346-356 
and 376 and 377 (London, 1930). 

1 This Act authorised the merchants of the Russia Company to import raw silk or other Persian 
goods via Russia “ provided that they had been purchased by the barter of doth or other 
English commodities, and not by the export of gold or silver bullion ” (see Dr. A. C. Wood's 
A History of the Levant Company, p. 146). 

* See the Journal of Thompson & Hogg in Hanway, Vol. 1, pp. 351 and 354. 

* See pp. 205 and 206 above. 

*See Woodroofe's Journal (in Hanway, Vol. I, Chapter XX). 

* In February, 1743, Hanway had accepted a partnership in the St. Petersburg firm of Dingley 

and Klencke (see S.P. 91, Vol. XLIII, and Hanway, Vol. I, p. 83). 

’Cook, Vol. H, p. 510. 

» This letto : was dated the 7th /i 8th November, 1744; a copy is to be found in S.P. 91, Vol. 



APPENDIX I 


289 


woollen goods imported through Russia and Gilan began competing in central 
Persia with those of the East India Company. 1 

Difficulties in Persia itself, as well as in Russia, were not slow in arising. 
Early in 1743 goods to the value of some 3,500 tomans were seized by the 
Government in Gilan. 8 In November of the same year Mungo Graeme was 
murdered by robbers at Samnan when returning from Mashhad to Resht. 8 
Further, the climate, particularly in Gilan, caused much illness and some 
mortality amongst the British factors ; Hanway states that five (out of a total 
of sixteen) died between 1740 and 1744. 4 

Moreover, the manner in which the transit duty was calculated in Russia 
raised it to 7 per cent, in the current Russian money, instead of the 3 per cent, 
stipulated. 6 

As time went on, the complaints of the Russian Government grew more 
and more vehement, particularly after Elton had completed his first vessel 
for Nadir.® Although Hanway had failed to persuade Elton to sever his 
connection with the Persian court, further efforts were made through Lord 
Tyrawley to induce him to do so. 7 He was even offered a pension of £400 
a year (to be levied on the Persian trade), with the alternative of a commission 
in the British Navy. 8 Elton, when pressed once more to return to England, 
produced a decree from Nadir, dated the 21st November, 1745, stating that 
“ the properest of the Christians ” was not permitted to leave Persia, as it 
was necessary for him to attend the court at the next Nau Ruz and " to settle 
our naval affairs on a right foundation.” 8 

Bakunin, who had succeeded Arapov as Russian Consul at Resht, sent to 
St. Petersburg in 1745 and 1746 two long reports containing accusations 
against Elton. Copies of these reports, couched in very Russified German, 
were communicated by the Russian Government to Lord Tyrawley and his 
successor, the Earl of Hyndford. 10 Lord Hyndford formed the opinion that 
the agitation against Elton was engineered largely by the enemies of Bestuzhev 
(who had been responsible, on the Russian side, for the conclusion of the 1734 
treaty). 11 However that may have been, the situation went from bad to worse. 


I See p. 285 above. 

* Gombroon Diary, 4th /15th January, 1743- The Agent remarked, with a certain satisfaction, 

that “ paying Customs (in Persia) proves no Exemption from Impositions, and it is not Our 
Masters that suffer only in such Calamitous Times.” 

* Hanway, Vol. II, p. 24. See also the letter from Gombroon to London (apparently written early 

in 1744), in Vol. XV of the Persia and Persian Gulf Records. 

* Hanway, Vol. I, p. 221. . 

* This duty was payable in rix-dollars ( reichsthalers ). See the Petition from the Russia Company 

to the TTing in Council, a copy of which was sent by Whitehall to St. Petersburg on the 
30th July, 1742 (S.P. 91, Vol. XXXI). , t , 4 

* Lerch, when at Daxband, saw an 18-gun frigate which Elton had built. Elton was then (1745). 

Lerch said, an admiral, but he was, nominally at any rate, under the “ Over-Admiral," Mirza 
M uhammad Khan, who was also Governor of Baku. At that time, two frigates and four 
smaller vessels were said to be finished, while other ships were under construction. (Bfis- 
ching’s Magazin, Vol. X, p. 404.) , 

» James O’Hara, Baron Tyrawley, was Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary at 
St. Petersburg from 1743 to 1745. 

* Hanway, Vol. II, p. 34. 

i* Lord Hyndford! m bis despatch of the 22nd November /3rd December, 1745, forwarded these 
reports to London, where they were examined by the Russia Company. 

II See Lord Hyndford's despatch referred to above. 


U 



NADIR SHAH 


290 

At the request of the Russian Government, the two British ships on the 
Caspian were sold to Russian merchants and sailed thereafter under the 
Russian flag. The next step was far more drastic ; by a decree issued in 
November, 1746, the Empress withdrew the transit privileges accorded by the 
treaty of 1734 and requested the British Ambassador to inform the British 
merchants concerned that they should consign no more goods to Persia and 
that they should immediately liquidate their affairs there and withdraw their 
servants and effects. 1 * 

The British Government protested at this decree, and pointed out that 
it was most unfair to penalise those British merchants engaged in the Persian 
trade who were not associated with Elton ; the Russian Government, however, 
remained adamant. Notwithstanding this ban on their trade, some merchants 
and factors remained in Persia, in the hope that the decree might be re- 
scinded. However, in the disturbances that broke out in Persia after Nadir’s 
death, everything was lost, goods to the value of £80,000 being stolen. 8 By 
1751 all the British, save Elton, had left northern Persia. As for Elton, 
he was murdered in Gilan in April, 1751. 3 Although the Russian charges 
against him were, in many respects, grossly exaggerated, and in some cases 
actually, false, the basic fact remains that it was his injudicious conduct 
in entering Nadir’s service and in assisting him to found a navy on the Caspian 
which, by arousing the fears of Russia, brought about the collapse of the 
enterprise. As Hanway very truly remarked : “ . . . unless we could convey 
our merchandize through the Russian empire with the good will of that nation, 
there could be no conveyance at all.” 4 It was unfortunate that Elton did not 
use his undoubted talents in such a manner as not to prejudice the interests 
of the Russia Company merchants. It has already been suggested that if 
he could have persuaded Nadir to place him in charge of the Persian navy 
in the Persian Gulf, he would have had ample scope for his abilities, without 
giving Russia any grounds for offence. 

When all is said and done, however, it is clear that, even if Elton had done 
nothing to alienate the good will of Russia, the venture would have ended in 
failure, owing to the course that events took in Persia. 

1 Hanway, VoL II, pp. 74-78. The extent to which Elton’s actions were resented in Russia may 
be gauged from the fact that, as long afterwards as December, 1762, when the Earl of Buck- 
ingham was endeavouring to negotiate another commercial treaty in Moscow, he reported 
that, on touching upon the question of British trade with Persia, he found : " Mr. Elton’s 
misconduct has made an impression which it will be very difficult to get the better of.’’ 
See The Despatches and Correspondence of John, Second Earl of Buckingham, Ambassador 
to the Court of Catherine II, 1762-1765 (London, 1900), p. 113. 

5 Hanway, Vol. II, p. go. 

* Ibid., Vol. II, p. 120. According to Lerch (BQsching’s Magazin, Vol. X, p. 460), Elton was 
murdered in 1750. 

4 Hanway, Vol. II, p. 39. 



APPENDIX II. 

GENEALOGICAL TREE of NADIR SHAH and HIS DESCENDANTS. 




APPENDIX III 

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL PARTICULARS 

The quantity of documentary information on the subject of Nadir Shah is, 
at first sight, quite bewildering in its immensity ; it is, moreover, all the more 
formidable by reason of its polyglot character. However, when one analyses 
this huge mass of material one can whittle it down appreciably by discarding 
such works (and they are not a few) as are mere paraphrases of those of earlier 
writers. 

This Appendix contains information regarding the principal authorities 
whom I have, for the sake of convenience, divided into two groups, namely, 
Oriental and European. Authorities of lesser importance are mentioned in 
the Bibliography. 

I have endeavoured, whenever possible, to utilise contemporary sources 
both Oriental and European ; when these were not available, I have had to 
fall back upon the works of later writers like Sir John Malcolm, Soloviev, 
Brosset, etc., who have drawn upon earlier works that are either no longer 
extant or not readily available. 


A.— ORIENTAL AUTHORITIES 

I. MIRZA MUHAMMAD MAHDI KAUKABI ASTARABADI. 

Notwithstanding the late Professor Barthold’s view that M uhamm ad 
Kazims history 1 of the Nadir period will in the future be regarded 'as even 
inore ^lniportant than Mirza Mahdi’s T a’rikh-i-N adiri, I am, for reasons which 

1 tJ- ,y e i op hiQT > 6™“? pride of P lace t0 the author of the latter. 

Mirza Muhammad Mahdi Kaukabi Astarabadi, to give him his full name, 
was, as is evident, a native of Astarabad. Beyond the fact that his father 
was named Muhammad Na§ir, nothing is known of his family. We are likewise 
without knowledge of the date of his birth, but it is probable that he was 
bom towards the close of the XVIIth century. 

In consequmce of his northern origin and upbringing, he acquired a profound 
knowledge of Turkr (Chaghatai or Eastern Turkish). He states, in the preface 

t dictionar y Med, respectively, the MabanVlr 

Lughat and the Sanglakh), that from his early youth he took a keen delight 
m the Turki poems of Mir Ah Shir Nava’i and that he “ was possessed of an 
inexpressible desire to understand their purport ; and since this desire had 
m a manner been fulfilled, he determined to collect together all the difficult 


1 See p. 298 below. 
292 



APPENDIX III 


293 


words, and out of them to make a dictionary. ” 1 Mirza Mahdi certainly showed 
good taste in his admiration for Nava'i's poetry, for he had been in his time 
(844-906 a.h. = a.d. 1440/41-1500/01) a most noted poet as well as a prose 
writer in both the Turki and Persian languages, but particularly in the former.* 
Mirza Mahdi does not record when he first met Nadir or on what date he 
entered his service. As he was an Astarabad man, he may, originally, have 
been in the employ of Fath ‘Ali Khan, the chief of the local Ashaqbash 
Qajars, whom he may have accompanied to Sari, when the Qajar chief met 
Tahmasp there in the spring of 1726 ; in that case, Mirza Mahdi would have 
come into contact with Nadir for the first time in the following autumn at 
Khabushan ; all this, however, is merely conjectural. From the intimate 
knowledge which Mirza Mahdi displays of state affairs in those times, it seems 
evident that he obtained some post at Tahmasp’s court in 1726 or shortly 
afterwards. 

He was, perhaps from the very beginning of his royal service, in the office 
of the raqam (royal order) writers and calligraphists or royal secretariat, 
of which he later became head, with the title of Munshi al-Mamailik or Secretary 
of State (the literal meaning is “ Secretary of the Kingdoms ”). It was he 
who, in January, 1731, composed the preamble to the contract of marriage 
between Rida Quli, Nadir's eldest son, and Fatima Sultan Begum, one of Shah 
Sultan Husain's daughters. 3 

It was not until Nadir's coronation day (8th March, 1736) that Mirza Mahdi 
was appointed official historiographer. 4 The Cathohcos Abraham describes 
him as being " un homme sage et modeste, intelligent, de mceurs douce, et 
port 4 a la condescendance.” 5 He was well qualified for his new post, because 
he had, in his previous capacity, made himself familiar with everything of 
importance that occurred at the court, and he must have had almost unique 
opportunities of ascertaining the facts of Nadir’s early life. The East India 
Company’s representatives in Persia, who had numerous dealings with him 
in connection with the Company’s endeavours to secure the restoration of its 
privileges, found him helpful and honest. 

Mirza Mahdi was by no means exclusively occupied with his historiographical 
work ; he had also to carry out secretarial and other duties at the court. 
Despite his manifold official duties, he managed, as he himself states, to find 
time and energy to work at his Sanglakh . 6 

In all probability, Mirza Mahdi would have perished in the disturbances 
that followed Nadir’s assassination in 1747 had he been in Persia at the time, 
but, fortunately for himself, he had, as already related, been sent on a diplo- 
matic mission to Constantinople in the previous year and did not return to 
Persia until the troubles had subsided. 

1 See Mr. (now Sir) E. Denison Ross's editorial introduction to bis edition of the Mabani’J-Lughat 
(Calcutta, 1910), p. ii. 

* Nava’i, who was the minister of the Timurid ruler Abu'l-Ghazi Husarni of Herat, " did more 

than any other man to raise the Chaghatay TnrM to the dignity of a literary language ” 
(Browne’s Persian Literature under Tartar Dominion, p. 453) ; moreover, Nava’i, like his 
contemporary Jami, exercised a profound influence upon Ottoman poetry in the XVTth 
century. Besides being a famous literary figure himself, he was a generous patron of such 
men as the poet Jami and the artist Bihzad. 

* See p. 52 above. * Catholicos Abraham, p. 312. 

* IbicL, p. 305. * Mdbani'ULughat, p. Hu 



NADIR SHAH 


294 

The date of his death, like that of his birth, is not known ; there is evidence 
to show that he was still living in 1172 or 1173 a.h. (a.d. 1758-59 or 1759-60). 1 

He is to be carefully distinguished from two other (more or less) contemporary 
writers, each of whom was also known as Mirza Mahdi Khan. One of these 
was Abu’l-Mufakhir Ni?amu’d-Din Muhammad Hadi al-Husaini as-Safavi, 
the author of (i) the Diya’ aWTJyun, a treatise on the mystical peculiarities 
of Muha mma d's prophetic seal and on the magic power and influence of certain 
passages and letters of the Qur’an, 2 and (ii) the M&jmu' a-yi-M ahdi Khani y 
a short history of the Timurids of India compiled in 1142 a.h. (1729-30). 
The father of this Mahdi Khan was Mir Mahdi Khan (see fol. I (b) of the India 
Office MS. No. 2272), and it is stated in the Bodleian copy of this work (Bodleian 
MS. No. 1563) that it was composed at Haidarabad in 1114 a.h. (a.d. 1702-3). 
This Mahdi Khan was evidently a considerably older man. 

The other Mahdi Khan (whose first name was Muhammad) was a native of 
Tabriz ; curiously enough, like his namesake of Astarabad, he wrote, in 
Persian, a grammar, together with a vocabulary, of the Turki language. His. 
work, however, dealt with the Turki spoken in Adharbaijan and elsewhere in 
Persia, and it is known that he compiled it subsequently to 1198 a.h. (a.d. 
1783-84) 3 ; he was therefore much younger than the author of th t Sanglakh 
and T a'nkh-i-Nadiri. 

The T a’rikh-4-Nadiri, as Mirza Mahdi Astarabadi’s official history of Nadir 
is generally known, 4 is the only detailed and really well-informed contemporary 
record in existence that covers the whole of Nadir’s career. It describes, 
with a. wealth of detail the numerous campaigns and other important 
happenings, and it is fairly lavishly supplied with dates which are, 
with a few exceptions, accurate. It is, therefore, no exaggeration to say 
that the work is the only sure foundation upon which a critical study of Nadir's 
life and activities can be based. Nevertheless, the book is not free from 
blemishes. As official historian, Mirza Mahdi could not write of things as 
they actually were, but as his master would like them to appear ; he had 
to be eulogistic and not critical, and it is not, therefore, surprising that his book 
contains a number of exaggerated statements and distortions of the truth 
moreover, some episodes of importance are omitted altogether. Owing,, 
doubtless, to the circumstances under which it was written, it gives but little 
information of a personal nature regarding Nadir, and it throws no light 

1 There are two chronograms at the end of the Sanglakh, each of which, apparently, purports* 
to give the date of the completion of that work ; one of these chronograms gives the year as 
X172 and the other as 1173 a.h. ; it is not known which is the correct date (see Rieu's Catalogue • 
of the Turkish Manuscripts in the British Museum , London, 1888, p. 265). 

1 See Eth 4 ’s notice of the work in the I.O. Catalogm of Persian MSS., No, 2272. 

*See Rieu's Catalogue of the Persian MSS. in the British Museum, p. 988. Sir Denison Ross, 
on p. vi of his editorial introduction to Mirza Mahdi Astarabams Mabani’l-Lughat, states, 
that this grammar and the accompanying dictionary, the Sanglakh, are much superior* 
to the above-mentioned work, 

4 The work itself bears no title, but it has been known ever since Mirza Mahdi's day as the T a'rikh- 
i-N adiri, as his contemporary Muhammad Kagim called it by that title. It is occasionally 
called the Ta'rikh-i~Jahan-gushai-yi-N adiri (e.g., in the Ta’rikh-i-Zandiya, B.M. Add. 
MS. 26, 198) . It is not to be confused with the Persian translation of James Fraser's History 
of Nadir Shah by Abu'l-Qasim Khan Na?iru’l-Mulk, which is also called the Ta’rikh-i-Nadiri*. 
or with 'Abdu'l-Karim Kashmiri's Bayan-i-Waqi‘, which is sometimes given that title, 
(See Professor Storey's Persian Literature ; a Bio-Bibliographical Survey, Section II, Fasc*. 
2, pp. 326 and 329). 



APPENDIX III 


2 95 

whatever upon the veritable nature of his religious beliefs. Fears of his 
master’s displeasure could hardly, however, have been the reason why Mirza 
Mahdi had so little to say respecting the origin, growth and exploits of Nadir's 
navy ; his failure to deal adequately with this interesting matter is a mystery. 
Lastly, his accounts of some of Nadir’s campaigns are marred by vague and, in 
some cases, clearly incorrect geographical data, which make them extremely 
difficult to follow (e.g., his description of Nadir’s route from Kir mans hah to 
Zuhab and Tuz Khurmatli and thence on towards Baghdad in December, 
1732) 1 ; the difficulties to which this defect have given rise are aggravated, 
in the Bombay and Tabriz lithographed editions, by the large number of mis- 
takes in the place names. It is to be regretted that no carefully edited and 
well-printed text of the Ta’rikh-i-N adiri exists. 2 

Mirza Mahdi completed the work after his return from Constantinople 
in 1747 ; during his absence, Nadir had been assassinated, and he could, 
therefore, write at last without restraint. In his concluding pages, he graphi- 
cally describes the terrible change in Nadir’s character and behaviour after 
the blinding of Rida Quli Mirza (which he had hitherto omitted to mention), 
and the horrors of the last few years of the reign. It is a matter for regret 
that he did not completely rewrite his book ; he seems, however, to have 
devoted himself almost exclusively to the compilation of the Sanglakh . 3 

Despite an occasional over-indulgence in hyperbolic expressions (notably 
when describing the annual Nau Ruz festival) and a wearisome repetition of 
flowery epithets when referring to Nadir and his troops, Mirza Mahdi’s style, 
in the Ta’rikh-i-Nadiri, is not unpleasing. His vocabulary is vast, and it is 
interesting to note, from his use of a number of Mongol and Turco-Mongol 
military expressions, that these terms were still in use in Persia in his time. 
He also, on more than one occasion, quoted Georgian words. There can be 
no doubt that he was an accomplished linguist, being well-versed in Persian, 
Turki and Arabic. 4 

Before leaving the subject of the Ta’rikh-i-N adiri, mention must be made 
of Sir William Jones’s French translation of it. 5 One is apt, at first, to criticise 

1 See p. 66. 

* For a list of the principal MSS. of the Ta’rikh-i-N adiri and of the lithographed Persian editions 

and translations into French, German, etc., see Professor Storey's Persian Literature : a 
Bibliographical Survey, Section II, Fascicnlns 2, pp. 322-324. 

* It was probably for the same reason that Mirza Mahdi never (so far as is known) carried ont his 

intention of writing a history of the period following Nadir’s death ; he stated at the end of 
the Ta’rikh-i-Nadiri that he intended to do so, but he did no more tha n describe briefly the 
short and troubled reign of ‘Adil Shah. 

* Abu'l-Hasan ibn Ibrahim Qazvini, on fol. 192 (a) of the Fava'id-i-Safaviyya (British Museum 

MS. No. Add. 16698), makes the following extraordinary criticism of Mirza Mahdi : " The 
authorship of the Ta’rikhri-Nadiri is by Mirza Mahdi and (its) correction by ‘Ali 'Askar. 
Mahdi was without any knowledge of Arabic and he followed the secular path (ie., he was 
without religion), and the Durra-yi-N adiri (sic) is also of his composition. As Sir Denison 
Ross has pointed out (see page vii of his introduction to the MaSani’l-Lughat ), it is hard to 
imagine how a man who knew no Arabic could have written the Durra-yt-Nadira ; even in 
the Ta’rikh-i-Nadiri there are a number of Arabic phrases and quotations. The charge 
of atheism seems to be equally baseless, as does the statement regarding 'Ali 'Askar (whose 
name I have never come across elsewhere). 

* This translation, entitled the Histoire de Nader Chah, traduite du Person par ordre de sa Majesty 

le Roi de Dannemark, was first published in London in 1770. When Carsten Niebuhr, the 
Danish traveller and writer, visited Shiraz in 1765 he purchased a MS. copy of the Ta’rikh-i- 
Nadiri ; on his return to Denmark, he presented this MS. to the Kongelige Bibliotek at 
Copenhagen, where it still is. It was from this MS. that Jones made hisFrench translation. 



NADIR SHAH 


296 

Jones severely for the vast number of mutilated names which disfigure his 
translation, as well as for his extremely incorrect conversion of the majority 
of the Muhammadan dates. It must, however, be borne in mind that, apart 
from the fact that the task of translating the T a’rikh-i-Nadiri was forced upon 
Jones and that it was distasteful to him, 1 he had no personal knowledge -of 
Persia. Moreover, there were not, at that time, any really accurate maps of 
that country, and books of reference were but few in number. Even to-day, 
with all the facilities which now exist, it would be impossible to make a trans- 
lation of the Ta’rikh-i-Nadiri that would be reasonably free from error, the 
main reason being that a number of the names mentioned cannot now be 
identified. As to the dates, there was no conversion table like that of 
Wiistenfeld in existence in Jones’s times. 

He published, in 1773, an abridged English version of his French translation ; 
in the same year, T. S. Gadebusch published his German translation of Jones’s 
French text at Greifswald, and, at a later date, the Tsarevich David (the son 
of Giorgi XII, the last Georgian king) made a Georgian translation of it (see 
B. Dorn’s Catalogue des Manuscrits et Xylographs Orientaux de la Bibliotheque 
Publique de St. Petersburg, 1852, p. 293). 

Mirza Mahdi’s second work on Nadir Shah, the Durra-yi-Nadira, although 
a monument to his erudition, is also a manifestation of his bad taste. It is 
written throughout in the objectionable artificial style which Wa§saf originated 
in the 4th century a.h. The text is so overloaded with recondite Arabic words 
as to be almost unintelligible, even to well-educated Persians ; how this 
work could have made any appeal to an illiterate man like Nadir is a mystery. 
If one may imitate one of Mirza Mahdi’s metaphors, he gave, in this book, free 
rein to the high-mettled steed ( tausan ) of his verbosity and pedantry ; in the 
Ta’rikhri-Nadiri the author mercifully kept his steed in check, except for an 
annual Nau Ruz gallop. 

The Durra-yi-Nadira contains but little that is not to be found in the 
Ta’nkh-i-Nadiri 2 ; it is, however, of some use for the purpose of checking 
the place-names and dates given in the latter work. It seems in the highest 
degree unlikely that it will ever be translated into any European language ; 
it would be a singular waste of effort and time to do so. 

Some other specimens of Mirza Mahdi’s writings exist. It is known that 
he composed the letter in which Nadir gave his son Rida Quli news of the victory 
at Kamal ; it was probably his pen which drafted Nadir’s letter to Muhammad 
‘Ali Khan, the Beglarbegi of Fars (see p. 60 above), and there can be but little 
doubt that he was responsible for the drawing up of the drastic treaty which 
Nadir compelled Muhammad Shah to sign at Delhi (see p. 153 above). The 
Munsha’at-i-Mahdi, which was published at Tehran in 1285 a.h. (1868-69), 
consists of a number of other letters written by Mirza Mah di. 


II. MUHAMMAD KAZIM OF MERV. 

Apart from the autobiographical details which Muha mma d Kazim gives 


1 See PP- 316-320 of Jones’s preface to bis Introduction to the History of the Life of Nadir Shah. 
in Volume XII of lus works, London, 1807. 

‘ Tbepreample to Rida Quli Mirza’s contract of marriage which, as stated on p. 52 above, is in 
tire Dwra-yt-N adtra, is not contained in the official bioeraohv. • 



APPENDIX III 


297 

from time to time in the course of his work, we have no information regarding 
him ; he is not mentioned by any of his contemporaries or by any later Persian 
writers, so far as is known. 

As he states that he was 16 years old in 1149 a.h., he was bom in 1133 
(1720 /i). His father was one of the trusted followers and companions of 
Nadir’s brother, Ibrahim Khan ; the circumstances under which Muhammad 
Kazim entered the Khan’s service in Adharbaijan when only 16 have already 
been related, as has also the manner in which he escaped Ibrahim’s fate in 1738. 
Muhammad Kazim's father having died in Adharbaijan during his period of 
service there, he took the body back with him to Khurasan when he returned, 
and buried it at Mashhad before proceeding to Merv. From this fact and from 
other statements elsewhere in his book, it is evident that he was a Shi'a. 

_ On reaching Merv, he entered the service of the Beglarbegi. When that 
dignitary, in answer to the summons which Nadir issued for all the principal 
officials and notables of the kingdom to meet him at Herat on his return from 
India, proceeded to that city, Muhammad Kazim was one of his suite. From 
Herat he accompanied Nadir on the expedition to Bukhara and Khwarizm ; 
he states that when he was at Khanqa he was kept so busy in the dafiar-khana 
(secretariat) that he was unable to go out. Instead of going with Nadir to 
Daghistan, he accompanied an expedition against the Qungrat tribe, and, 
on returning to Merv, he was appointed wazir of the arsenal, ordnance depart- 
ment and frie camel and mule stables there. In consequence of the active 
preparations which were then, at Nadir’s orders, being made for a military 
expedition to Eastern Turidstan, Khoqand and possibly Kashgaria, the post 
was of considerable importance. He describes graphically the trepidation 
which he, in common with every other official, felt on entering Nadir’s presence, 
but he was one of the fortunate few to earn the tyrant’s approbation instead 
of his wrath. He accompanied Behbud Khan on his expedition to Samarqand 
and beyond in 1747, and relates that he wrote thirty out of the seventy letters 
which the commandant dispatched from there to the cities of Turkistan. The 
concluding portion of Muhammad Kazim’s third (and final) volume describes 
the remainder of this expedition and the retreat of the army to Persia after the 
news of Nadir’s death had become known ; this part of the narrative is by 
the author’s son, who must have been very young at the time. The date of 
Muliammad Kazim’s death does not appear to be known. The MS. is dated 
the 2nd Safar, 1171 (16th October, 1757) when, if he was still living, he 
would have been no more than 37. 

To turn to the book itself, the first volume is, unfortunately, missing, but 
it is known that it covered Nadir’s career from his birth up to the beginning 
of 1736 ; in the second volume, which is known as the Kitab-i-Nadiri, there 
are occasional references to, and what are apparently quotations from, this 
first volume. The data for this volume and for part of the second must have 
been collected by Muhammad Karim’s father. 

So far as is known, the only MS. in existence of the second and third volume 
(known respectively as the Kitalyi-Nadiri and the Nadir-Nama ) is the one 
in the possession of the Institut Vostokovedeniya (Oriental Institute) at 
Leningrad. The Director and the Librarian of the School of Oriental Studies 
have been kind enough to lend me a photostat copy of this Leningrad MS. 



NADIR SHAH 


298 

According to Professor Barthold, the MS. was evidently purchased from a. 
Jewish dealer, because the pagination of the second volume is in the Jewish 
fashion. 1 

The Kitab-i-Nadiri , consisting of 327 folios or 654 pages, begins with an 
account of the assembly on the Mughan plain and Nadir’s coronation there in 
1736, and, after describing his Bakhtiari, Afghan, Indian, Turkistan and 
Daghistan campaigns and the viceroyalty of Rida Quli Mirza, concludes when 
he was about to attack the Turks in the spring of 1743. 

The Nadir-Nama, which contains 251 folios or 502 pages, begins where the 
preceding volume left oft ; it records Nadir’s Mesopotamian campaign, the 
revolts in Kh warizm, Fars (Taqi Khan's rebellion) and Astarabad, the assembly 
of the ‘ulama at Najaf, the concluding stage of the Turkish war, the change in 
Nadir’s health and mental condition, his appalling cruelties, Behbud Khan's, 
expedition to Samarqand, the Sistan rebellion and the defection and revolt 
of 'Ali Quli Khan, and, lastly, the murder of Nadir and his sons in 1747. 

The outline of Muhammad Kazim’s life given above will show that he was- 
well qualified to record events in Khurasan, Turkistan, Transoxiana and (for 
a short while only) in Adhaxbaijan. Professor Barthold has expressed the 
view that his history of Nadir’s reign would surpass all other sources, not 
excepting Mirza Mahdi’s official biography. 2 With all due deference to- 
Professor Barthold, I cannot but feel that this statement goes rather too far. 
Some of Muhammad Kazim’s work is unquestionably of the greatest value 
and interest, but the fact remains that the quality of the whole is unequal. 
When describing events of which he had first-hand or even second-hand- 
information, he often throws a flood of light upon points that other writers 
have left obscure, such, for example, as the behaviour of Rida Quli Mirza 
during his vice-royalty and the reasons for his disgrace, and the murder of 
the ex-Shah Tahmasp and his two sons. On the other hand, his treatment 
of events that had occurred at a considerable distance frequently leaves a 
great deal to be desired. His account of Nadir’s Indian campaign is in- 
accurate and, in places, fantastic ; as he did not get nearer to India than 
Herat, he must have gleaned all his data from officers and men of his acquaint- 
ance, and his version of what happened is therefore of the “ camp-fire ” 
variety. As Sir Jadunath Sarkar has well put it in a letter to me, this part 
of Muhammad Kazim’s book shows us “ Clio en deshabiUS, while the Muse of 
History appears in her stiff official robes in the pages of Mahdi.” In regard 
to occurrences in the Persian Gulf and Daghistan, Muhammad Ka?im is often 
very inaccurate. Further, his work suffers from the fact that it contains, 
but few dates (a number of these, moreover, are incorrect), and the arrangement 
of the subject matter is at times haphazard and therefore difficult to follow.. 
Lastly (but this not Muhammad Kazim’s fault), his first volume is missing. 
After a careful weighing of the merits and demerits of the two works, I have 
decided in favour of the Ta’rikhri-Nadiri, though I fully admit that in certain, 
respects the Kitab-i-Nadiri and its continuation are superior. 


1 See Professor Barthold’s article 0 n&kotonkh vostoknihh tukopisyakh, in the Izvestiya Akademiyof 
Nook) Petrograd, 1919, Vol. II, p. 927. 

* Barthold, op. at., p. 927. 



APPENDIX III 


299 


It is very evident that Muhammad Kazim made use of the Ta’rikh-i-Nadiri 
when compiling his own work ; he referred indeed to it specifically, and on 
several occasions he borrowed (generally without acknowledgment) whole 
passages ; some of these he inserted verbatim, while he slightly paraphrased 
others. 

Muhammad Kazim took evident pleasure in witnessing the performances 
of jugglers, conjurers and acrobats. He has given, in the Kitab-i-Nadiri 
(pp. 490-492), a lengthy description of the marvellous feats of a tight-rope 
walker at Mashhad, during an entertainment given by Rida Quli Mirza when 
he was Viceroy ; he has also described how, several years later, when Nadir 
was entertaining the Russian Ambassador, a trick was performed which 
seems, from his account, to have been very similar to the Indian rope trick 
(Nadir-Nama, p. 329). 

His style is ornate, but it is less so than that of Mirza Mahdi in the Ta’rikh- 
i-Nadiri. His descriptions of battles are conventional and lack variety, 
and one gets weary of reading of scenes of appalling carnage, when rivers 
of blood always flowed and mountains of corpses were invariably piled up. 
At times he breaks into verse, in the style of Firdausi, using the mutaqarib 
metre. His orthography (or that of his copyist) is by no means perfect, 
particularly in the case of Arabic words. There can be no doubt that Mirza 
Mahdi was the better scholar and linguist. But, all things considered, 
Muhammad Kazim’s work is of prime importance, and it is a fortunate 
thing that a copy of it has now become available in this country. 


III. MUHAMMAD MUE 1 SIN. 

Muhammad Muhsin, f Amil-i-Divan, of Isfahan, was a mustaufi or treasury 
official in the service of Nadir Shah. In the preface to his general history, 
entitled the Zubdatu’t-Tawarikh (“ Cream of the Histories ”), he states that 
Nadir ordered him to compile the work for the use of his eldest son, Rida 
Quli Mirza. The work was composed in 1154 a.h. (1741 /1742), after Nadir's 
return from Bukhara and Khwarizm and not long before the unfortunate 
Prince was blinded. 

The Zubdatu’t-Tawarikh begins with Adam, but it does not become really 
detailed until the era of the later Safavis is reached. Rieu is certainly justified 
in saying that the latter part of the chapter on the Safavis is “ of special 
importance as being a contemporary record of the decline of the Safavi dynasty 
and of the rise of Nadir Shah down to the time of his assumption of the royal 
title." 1 

Although not so complete as the Ta’rikh-i-Nadiri, the Zubdatu’t-Tawarikh 
nevertheless contains certain particulars which are not to be found in the 
former work, and the portion respecting the relations between Shah Tahmasp II 
and Nadir merits close attention. 

1 See his Supplementary Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts in the British Museum, London,. 

1898, pp. 24 and 25. 



NADIR SHAH 


300 

The chronology, owing, perhaps, to careless copyists, is frequently faulty, 1 
and the haphazard arrangement of some of the chapters or sections is con- 
fusing. 2 The author makes a surprising blunder when he states that Baghdad 
surrendered to Nadir when he besieged it for the second time, after the defeat 
and death of Topal ‘Osman Pasha. 3 Notwithstanding these defects, this work 
is one of the most important contemporary sources for Nadir’s early career, 
and it is to be regretted that it stops short with his accession to the throne 
in 1736. It has the appearance of having been written quite independently 
of the T a’rikh-i-Nadiri. 


IV. SHAIKH MUHAMMAD ‘ALI HAZIN. 

The Tadhkimtu’l-Ahwal 4 of Shaikh Hazin is an important contribution 
to the history of the era of Nadir Shah, as the author was one of the few men 
of culture and literary taste who lived in, and survived, those troubled times. 5 

The Shaikh has much to say of the devastation and ruin which Nadir 
brought upon the country of which he had been, at first, the saviour. It 
was, in fact, his distress at seeing the manner in which the Persian people 
were oppressed that made him decide to leave Persia for India in 1734. 5 
Although a partisan of the legitimate Safavi line, he praised Nadir’s prowess 
as a military leader, and his version of the Indian invasion is not unfair to the 
conqueror. The Shaikh’s descriptions of Nadir’s battles are not of the slightest 
value. He did not witness any of the fighting of which he wrote ; being 
anything but a warrior, he always found some excuse to absent himself whenever 
a clash oi arms seemed imminent. 

No biographical details of Shaikh Hazin are given here, because they can 
be found in F. C. Belfour’s English translation of the Ahwal. ‘Abdu’l-Karim 
Kashmiri, the author of the Bayan-i-Waqi‘ (see Section V below) and 
Sayyid Ghulam Husain Khan Tabatabai, who wrote the Siyaru’l-Muta’akh- 
khirin, have utilised the Ahwal to some extent in the preparation of their 
respective works. 

1 Several of the dates relating to the Afghan wars axe two or even three years out, and in some 
places, in the late Professor Browne's manuscript (No. G. 15 in A Descriptive Catalogue of 
the Oriental MSS* belonging to the late E* G * Browne . . , Cambridge, 1932) blanks have been 
left where dates should have been inserted. This MS. is far more legible than the one in the 
British Museum (O.R. 3498). 

1 For example, a detailed account of the revolt of Mir Wais and the Afghan wars follows the chapter 
devoted to the assembly on the Mughan plain and Nadir's accession. 

* See fol. 217 (b). 

4 The Persian text was edited by F. C. Belfour and published in London in 1831. 

* Luff 'Ali Beg Adhar, Ihe author of the Atash-Kada, in the portion of that work entitled Ahwal- 

i-Mu'asirin [Conditions of Contemporaries ), remarks upon the lack of literary men and 
poets during this epoch : he says, ,f The suspicion of the soul and the disordered state (of 
affairs) are such that no one is in the mood to read poetry or to write it," 

4 See F. C. Belfour's English translation of the Ahwal, entitled The Life of Shaikh Mohammed 
AH Hazin , page 251, Belfour, in the preface to his translation, quotes (on pages v and vi) 
some lines from ‘Abdu'l-Karim's Bayan-i-W aqi\ which he translates as follows : " An 
illustrious person has observed that the language of the Sheikh on this subject is not worthy 
of attention, because they (Nadir Shah and he) were enemies to each other, and the venerable 
Sheikh from fear of him (Nadir Shah), honoured India as the place of his retirement." The 
identity of this “ illustrious person " is not disclosed. 



APPENDIX III 


301 


V. KHWAJA ‘ABDU’L-KARIM KASHMIRI. 

‘Abdu’l-Karim, the son of ‘Aqibat Mahmud, of Kashmir, the author of the 
Bayan-i-Waqi’ , before recounting, in that work, his personal experiences 
when in the service of Nadir Shah, devotes a number of pages to the origin 
of the conqueror and his exploits up to the time of the Indian invasion. 1 
Whilst this portion of the Bayan is not based on first-hand observation and 
knowledge, it is, nevertheless, of very considerable value. The author, 
having no reason to fear Nadir's resentment, writes freely and without exagger- 
ation of his humble start in life ; he gives, moreover, some anecdotes and 
interesting personal details regarding him which are not to be found in Mirza 
Mahdi’s official biography. ‘Abdu’l-Karim states that he obtained his 
information from old companions of the Shah ; if, he says, there are any 
errors in his narrative, it is their fault, and not his own 2 ; some of his information 
is derived from the Ahwal and other writings of Shaikh Hazin. 

The portion of the Bayan which is based on the author’s personal observation 
and experiences begins with an account of Nadir’s stay in Delhi, where ‘Abdu’l- 
Karim was at that time. Being desirous of performing the pilgrimage to 
Mecca, he entered the Shah’s service, and accompanied the Persian army 
on its return march to Persia and on the Turkistan campaign ; on reaching 
Qazvin he obtained permission from the Shah to resign and to proceed to 
Mecca. 

‘AbduT-Karim furnishes a number of particulars of the return of the army 
to Persia and of the conquest of Bukhara and Khwarizm which are omitted 
by Mirza Mahdi and other writers, while his description of the hardships of 
the troops when passing through the Kurram valley in December, 1739, 
and their similar experiences in that of the Gurgan some fifteen months 
later, does much to amplify the official account. 3 From the capable Indian 
physican, ‘Alavi Khan (whom Nadir had taken into his service at Delhi), 
he learnt much of the Shah’s physical and mental condition, and his remarks 
on this subject are of decided interest. 4 

No complete English translation of the Bayan-i-Waqi 1 has yet appeared. 
In 1798 Francis Gladwin published, in Calcutta, his Memoirs ofKhojeh Abdul- 
kureem, but his translation (in which there is room for improvement) begins 
with Nadir’s departure from Delhi, all the earlier portion of the work being 
omitted. Lieutenant H. G. Pritchard translated this early part, together 
with much that Gladwin had already done, for Sir H. M. Elliot, 5 but only 
a' comparatively small portion of Pritchard's translation has been published. 4 

VI. MIRZA MUHAMMAD SHIRAZI. 

Mirza Muhammad, the son of Abu’l-Qasim, of Shiraz, wrote his Ruznama 
or autobiography in 1200 a.h. (17851 jy 86), when he was an old man. Professor 

1 See foil. 4 (a)-i5 (a) of the Persian MS. Add. 8909 at the British Museum. 

*Fol. 101 (b). 

1 Foil. 32 (a) and 61 (b) respectively. 

1 See foil. 66 (b) and 99 (b). 

‘ Pritchard’s translation (in manuscript) is contained in the British Museum MS. Add. 30782, foil. 
64-112. 

• Extracts from it are given in Elliot and Dowson’s The History of India as told by its own His- 
torians. London, 1877, Vol. VIII ; those relating to Nadir are on pages 126-132. 



NADIR SHAH 


3°2 

Sa'id Naficy, of Tehran, possesses a MS. of this autobiography, of which 
he has been kind enough to send me a typewritten copy. 

The first twenty-one pages of this typewritten copy are concerned with the 
trials and adventures of the author and his family during the Afghan period 
and that of Nadir’s supremacy. He gives much prominence to events in 
Fars, and, above all, in Shiraz, and his account of Nadir’s expulsion of the 
Afghans from that city is of interest. He relates that, with the return of 
security at the beginning of Nadir’s reign, the havoc wrought by the Afghans 
in and around Shiraz was in due course repaired, and the gardens and fertile 
land in the vicinity were cultivated afresh. 

As is natural, Mirza Muhammad has much to say regarding the revolt of 
Muhammad Taqi Khan Shirazi in 1744. Fasa’i, the author of the Fars-Nama- 
yi-Nasiri, 1 cites Mirza Muhammad as one of his authorities for his description 
of this uprising. Mirza Muhammad deplores the terrible fate of Shiraz and 
its gardens in consequence of this revolt, but he regards as excessive the 
punishment which Nadir meted out to Taqi Khan. 

MISCELLANEOUS. 

Sir John Malcolm, in his History of Persia, gives translations of passages 
from a number of Persian MSS, some apparently contemporary or nearly so, 
that relate to Nadir ; unfortunately, he does not in all cases give the names 
of the authors. It would be of interest to know whether these MSS. are 
still in existence, and if so, where they are. 

Space does not permit me to give separate notices here of the numerous 
Indian authors (except ‘Abdu’l-Karim Kashmiri) who have written on the 
subject of Nadir. The majority of these writers confine their attention to 
Nadir’s invasion of India ; references have been made in the footnotes to a 
number of these writers, who will, moreover, be mentioned in the Bibliography. 


B.—. EUROPEAN AUTHORITIES 

I. THE STATE PAPERS AT THE PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE. 

The correspondence exchanged between Whitehall and the British diplomatic 
representatives at Constantinople and St. Petersburg during the years 
1729-1747, 2 * * * * * although concerned for the most part with affairs in Turkey and 
Russia respectively, nevertheless contains many references to Nadir Shah. 8 
The despatches from Constantinople frequently had, as enclosures, official 
communiquis (in Italian) from the Porte to the foreign diplomatic corps at 
that city respecting the wars with Persia, while those from St. Petersburg 

1 See page 193 of the Tehran lithographed edition, published in Dhu'l-Qa'da, 1312 a.h. 

(April /May, 1895). 

* A complete list of these representatives, with the dates of their appointments to and transfers 

from the Russian and Turkish capitals, will be found in D. B. Horn’s British Diplomatic 

Representatives, 1689-1789, published by the Camden Society, London, 1932, pp. 111-115 

for Russia and 152-153 for Turkey. 

* The St. Petersburg despatches (and many of the replies from London) are contained in the series 

S.P. 9 1 , Volumes X to XLVI (1728-1748), while the Constantinople despatches are in the 
series S.P. 97, Volumes XXV to XXXIII. 



APPENDIX III 


3<>3 


•were sometimes accompanied by translations of reports from Kalushkin, 
the Russian Minister at the court of Nadir Shah, and of letters from Russian 
•commanders on the frontiers of Persia and Turkey. Further, the despatches 
themselves, by describing the reactions of the Turkish and Russian Courts 
to the reports which they received of the ebb and flow of Nadir’s fortunes, 
supplement the valuable accounts to be found in the pages of von Hammer- 
Purgstall and Soloviev. 1 

In the correspondence between the Northern Department and the repre- 
sentatives at St. Petersburg much space is devoted to the British trade with 
Persia via Russia, and a large proportion of this space is taken up with the 
Elton controversy and the difficulties of the Russia Company. There are, 
for example, memoranda by Elton himself, copies of the accusations against 
him by Bakunin, the Russian Consul at Resht, a hitherto unpublished letter 
on the subject written by Jonas Hanway at Astrakhan in November, 1744, 
and many other documents of interest. The material regarding this question 
of the British transit trade with Persia is, in fact, so abundant that only a 
relatively small proportion of it can be utilised in a work dealing primarily 
with Nadir Shah. This subject of the British trade connection with Persia 
via Russia is one which merits separate treatment. 


II. THE RECORDS OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY. 

The archives of the East India Company at the India Office are a rich mine 
of information respecting the period of Nadir Shah. Not only is much of 
this information not to be found elsewhere, but the bulk of it has never been 
utilised before. The most important of these records, insofar as the subject 
of Nadir Shah is concerned, is the Gombroon Diary, wherein the Agent in 
Council at Gombroon recorded the day-to-day activities and transactions of 
the Company at that place, besides mentioning many events that occurred 
elsewhere. Volumes IV (1728-1737), V (1737-1746) and VI (1746-1752) of 
the Persia — Persian Gulf series of the India Office Records contain the portions 
of the Diary that deal with the period under review. Volume XV of the same 
series (covering the period 1729-1752) contains a large number of letters from 
the Agent in Council at Gombroon and from the representatives of the 
Company at Isfahan, Ba§ra, etc., which supplement the data contained in 
the Diary and to some extent bridge the occasional gaps in that record. These 
gaps were caused through certain portions of the Diary being lost when pirates 
captured the vessels that were conveying these portions from Gombroon to 
Bombay.* 

Further data are to be found in the Bombay records of the Company, 
but, as these are very voluminous and naturally relate mainly to India, it 
is no easy matter to extract the relevant material. J. A. Saldanha, in his 
Selections from State Papers (Calcutta, 1908), has drawn upon the Bombay 
records to some extent, but his work, besides being very incomplete, is marred 

1 See the separate notes regarding these two historians. 

* The periods so affected are 27th July, 1738-16^ August, 1739 and 31st July, 1 744-1 7th August, 
1745 - 



NADIR SHAH 


304 

by an astonishingly large number of misprints. Some additional information 
is to be found in the Surat Commercial Diary and Consultations. 

The Gombroon Diary and the letters contained in Volume XV throw much 
light upon the relations of the Company with the Persian Government, the 
naval policy of Nadir Shah, and the course of events in the Persian Gulf, 
as well as happenings at Isfahan, Kirman, Shiraz and Basra, where the 
Company had representatives. There are, for example, most graphic descrip- 
tions of the Persian attempts to capture Basra in 1735 and 1743, and much 
valuable data respecting the relations between the Persian Government and 
the Gulf Arabs, the campaigns in ‘Oman and Nadir’s great bid to establish 
Persian naval supremacy in the Gulf. These records make at times pathetic 
reading ; the staff often had to undergo severe hardships, and to run terrible 
risks. A number lost their lives from illness and one employee was murdered 
during a disturbance. 

Although these records contain so much that is of value in respect to affairs 
that came within the orbit of the Company’s representatives, they have, 
nevertheless, to be used with some caution when they deal with events in 
other parts of Persia or Turkey. 

There is doubtless a vast amount to be gleaned from the archives of the 
Dutch East India Company ; I much regret that I have been unable to examine 
these Dutch records. 


III. JAMES FRASER, OF REELIG. 

W. Irvine, in his brief article entitled Some Notes on James Fraser , 1 * describes 
Fraser’s Nadir Shah 2 as “ a first-hand contribution to the history of the period, 
important not only by reason of its early date, but because of the number of 
original documents it has preserved, documents not to be found elsewhere.” 
The only word to which one might take some exception in the above passage 
is “ first-hand,” because Fraser was never in Persia, and, although he was 
in India during Nadir’s invasion of that country, he did not come into personal 
contact with the conqueror. 

So far as can be ascertained, Fraser was employed as a Writer in the Surat, 
Cambay and Ahmadabad factories of the East India Company from 1730 
to 1740. 3 

Fraser states, in his preface (page iv), that during the last three years of his 
(first) stay in India (i.e., from 1737 to 1740), he “ held a Correspondence with 

1 J.R.A.S 1899, pp. 214-220. 

*It appears, from the Gentleman's Magazine for January, 1742 (p. 56), that the first edition 
appeared in that month ; the price was 4s. The second edition was published in March, 

17 42 - 

* Dictionary of National Biography. I have been unable to discover, in the Surat records, any 
reference either to Fraser's arrival there in 1730 or to his departure ten years later (he re- 
turned to England in 1740 in order to arrange for the publication of his book) ; it is known, 
however, that he was at Surat during much of that period. He did not become a member 
of the Council of Surat until after his return there in October, 1743 ; his appointment thereto 
is mentioned in a letter from Surat to London dated the 31st October of that year (see the 
India Office Volume iB entitled Bombay Letters Received — 20 th January , 1735-8 th April, 
*758). He returned from India in 1750 or 1751, and resided at Reelig, Inverness-shire, 
of which place he became laird on his father's death * he died in 1754. 



APPENDIX III 305 

some Persians and Moghols there (at Patna), and that frequently on the 
subject of Nadir Shah's Expedition.” He goes on to say : 

" The Account 1 of Nadir Shah’s first Exploits I have been favoured with from a 
Gentleman now in England, who resided several years in Persia, speaks that 
Language, and has been frequently in Company with that Conqueror. 

“ The Journal 2 of his Transactions in India, with the Letters and Cession of the 
Provinces, were tr ansmi tted from Dehli, by the Secretary of Sirbuhind (Sarbuland) 
Khan, whom Nadir Shah had appointed to be one of the Commissioners for levying 
the Contributions to Mirza Moghol, Son to Ali Mahommed Khan at Ahmedabad, 
who being my intimate Friend gave it to me.” 

Fraser omits to give the name of the author of the “ Account ” referred to 
above, but he states (p. 128) that this individual left Persia for India in 
February, 1737. It being obvious that the person in question must have been 
in the service of the East India Company, I consulted the Gombroon Diary , 
where I discovered that William Cockell, the Agent at Gombroon, left that 
place for Bombay on the 9th/ 20th February, 1737 3 ; no other employee of 
the Company left Persia for India in that month. Having regard to these 
facts, as well as to Cockell’s position and qualifications, there can be no doubt 
that he was Fraser’s informant. He was Resident of the Company at Isfahan 
during the latter part of Ashraf’s reign and throughout that of ShahTahmasp II. 
He came into personal contact with Nadir, as well as with Shah Tahmasp 
on several occasions. In May, 1733, he was appointed Agent at Gombroon 
(Bandar 'Abbas), where he remained until his transfer to Bombay in February, 
1737. After reaching India, Cockell was given a seat on the Council of the 
Bombay Presidency, and it was doubtless during his stay in Bombay that 
he met, or at any rate entered into correspondence with, Fraser. 

Although it might be supposed that Cockell’s Account would be a really 
reliable source of information regarding Nadir’s early career, one finds, on 
ATa mining it closely, that it is by no means free from errors. In fact, one 
discovers repeatedly, when carefully analysing such records of Nadir Shah, 
that their authors are very liable to make incorrect statements or to omit 
important facts unless they are describing incidents of which they themselves 
had first-hand knowledge or are quoting the ipsissitm verba of some reliable 
eye-witness. It must be borne in mind that Persia is a country where high 
mountains or vast expanses of desert separate many of the principal centres, 
such as Isfahan and Mashhad ; in Nadir’s days, communications between 
such centres was often slow and uncertain, particularly in times of crisis. It 
was consequently extremely difficult for anyone in, say, Isfahan, to obtain 
accurate information of the course of events in Mashhad, or vice versa * Wild 

1 See pp. 71 to 128 of Fraser’s work. 

* See pp. 152 to 223 of Fraser’s work. I have been unable to ascertain what has become of the 

nrigmal MS. from which Fraser made his translation. It is not amongst Fraser’s MSS. 
which are now in the Bodleian Library, and it is possible that he may have given it to his 
friend. Dr. Mead. 

* Gombroon Diary, 9th /20th February, 1737, in Volume IV of the Persia and the Persian Gulf 

records of the East India Company, at the India Office. 

« Cf . the comment of the Agent at Gombroon on some astonishing rumour that was current in 
that town in October, 1739 : “ It is certainly impossible to allow of the Truth of any Report 
in this Country without Visible Proof ’’ [Gombroon Diary, 2oth~3ist October, 1739). 

X 



3 o 6 NADIR SHAH 

rumours were often current, and these were not infrequently accepted as 
statements of fact. 

Since Nadir spent but little time in Isfahan between 1729 and 1733, it is 
probable that Cockell had to compile his Account, in part at any rate, fromstate- 
ments by persons who were, in fact, but ill-qualified to give him information. 
It is unlikely that he derived much, if indeed any, data from Nadir himself ; 
during his tenure of office at Isfahan, the relations between him and Nadir 
were, except at the outset, not of a cordial nature. 

But though one is bound to comment somewhat adversely upon Cockell’s 
Account, one can accept as absolutely reliable and of great interest and value 
his Personal Description and Character of Nadir Shah which is also included 
in Fraser’s book. 1 It is of interest to compare this delineation of Nadir’s 
personal appearance and character with that furnished by the Chevalier 
de Gardane, who was French Consul at Isfahan from 1727 to 1730. 2 

Of Fraser’s translations 3 of the various letters in Persian and of the Journal 
of Mirza Zaman Khan it is unnecessary to say more here than that they afford 
some additional information of the Indian campaign, and of the events at 
Delhi during Nadir’s stay there in 1739. 


IV. JEAN OTTER. 

Otter’s Voyage en Turquie et en Perse, avec une Relation des expeditions de 
Tahmas Koulikhan, was published in Paris in 1748, the year in which he died ; 
it is not, apparently, known whether the book appeared before or after his 
death, which occurred on the 26th September. 4 

Otter states in his preface that he derived his information for the historical 
part of his work from MS. memoirs and from conversations which he had had 
with “ well-informed persons.” From 'Abdu’l-Baqi Khan, the Persian 
Ambassador to the Porte and members of his suite (in whose company Otter 
travelled from Constantinople to Persia in 1736/7), as well as from persons 
in Isfahan and elsewhere, he obtained a number of details regarding the life 
of Nadir Shah. He claims that his account of Nadir’s expeditions, particularly 
that to India, was based upon the statements of actual eye-witnesses, and 
was, moreover, confirmed by “une Relation en Langue Persane 6crite k 
Dilli l’an 1153 de l’hegire ” (this ‘ Relation ’ cannot now be traced). Otter’s 
description of Nadir’s origin, his being dispossessed of Kalat by his unde, 
his first military success and subsequent disappointment, etc., follows Cockell’s 
account in Fraser’s Nadir Shah so closely that (although he does not acknow- 
ledge it) much of it must have been taken from that book. 5 

1 See pp. 227-234. 

* See file remarks in Section V below on La Mamye-Clairac and his authorities. 

*As regards Fraser’s knowledge of Persian, the following extract from the Surat Diary and 
Consultations , Vol. XXIV, p. 69 (dated 31st December, 1739), is of interest : ” The Chief 
haying requested of Mr. Fraser who is well versed in the Persian Language to translate our 
Phirmaund ( farman ) as very often in transacting Business at the Durbar we are at a loss 
for a just Explanation of some things, the Translates of which were before in the Office not 
being so exact as this which Mr. Fraser has now translated . . .” (the text of his translation 
■ is then given). 

‘ Nouvelle Biogrdphie GMraU, Paris, 1862, Vol. XXXVIII, p. 953. 

‘See. Fraser, pp. 71-88, and Otter, Vol. I, pp. 298-302. 



APPENDIX III 


3°7 


This part of Otter’s work, like his description of the Indian expedition, 
is neither very accurate nor of much interest. The most valuable portion 
of his book is his description of what he actually saw and heard himself. He 
relates in a graphic way his experiences on the journey from Turkey to Isfahan, 
his stay for over a year and a half in that city, his journey to Basra and his 
return to France through Mesopotamia. Being an accomplished linguist, 
he could talk freely to all the people with whom he came into contact ; his 
conversations with the peasants in Persia reveal the terrible state of misery 
to which, even at that time (1739), Nadir’s ceaseless exactions had reduced 
them. He has much to say in regard to Ahmad Pasha of Baghdad, his methods 
of keeping the Arab tribes in check, and his relations with Nadir Shah. 

Except as regards Basra and the vicinity, Otter’s published work is of de- 
cidedly less importance as a source of information respecting the Gulf than the 
Gombroon Diary and the letters of the East India Company’s representatives. 

The Bibliotheque Nationale possesses two copies of Otter’s Journal and a 
number of other documents in manuscript, which are quite distinct from 
his published work ; these MSS. contain some further information of value 
regarding Nadir Shah, the history of the Persian Gulf at that time, and the 
affairs of the Campagnie des Indes. 

On Otter’s return from the East in 1744, he was given the post of interpreter 
at the Bibliotheque du Roi and that of Professor of Arabic at the Acaddmie 
des Inscriptions. J. P. de Bougainville, the author of the Parallele between 
Alexander and Nadir Shah, had a high opinion of Otter, whose work he utilised 
largely when compiling his own. Interesting details of Otter’s career are given 
by Monsieur Omont in his Missions Archeologiques frangaises en Orient aux 
XV lie et XVI He siecles (Paris, 1902), pp. 680-683, 760-766 and 786. 

V. LA MAMYE-CLAIRAC. 

The Histoire de Perse, defuis le Commencement de ce Siicle by Louis Andr6 
de la Mamye-Clairac (Paris, 1750) is a remarkably well-arranged and carefully 
prepared work. Although the author was never nearer Persia than Constan- 
tinople (where he was from 1724 to 1727), he obtained through the friends whom 
he made there and through French diplomatic and consular officials 1 of his 
acquaintance a large amount of data relating to Persia. 2 The greater part 
of his book is concerned with the Afghan revolt and invasion and other occur- 
rences previous to Nadir’s rise into prominence ; the author’s actual narrative 
comes to an end with the year 1730, so that there is but little therein respecting 
Nadir. In the latter part of Ms third volume, entitled Memoir es four La. 
Continuation de cette Histoire, he publishes, however, a number of letters and 
reports wMch he had obtained through the good offices of his diplomatic 
and other friends ; these documents bring Ms record of events (with some gaps) 
up to the year 1739. One of the most interesting of these documents is the 

1 He knew, amongst others, that astute diplomatist the Marquis de Bonnac, M. d’Andrezel, 
the Marquis de Villeneuve and the brother of the last-named. 

* La Mamye-Clairac also utilised a number of works such as du Cerceau’s version of Krusinski's 
Memoirs, the Relation of P&re Reyna], the Relazione della Rivoltmoni di Persia (which I 
have not seen), by the Sieur Joseph, a Georgian who was interpreter at the French Consulate 
at Isfahan, etc. 



3 o8 NADIR SHAH 

Extrait de la Relation de M. le Chevalier de Gardane. 1 De Gardane, like Cockell, 
came into contact with Nadir after the last-named had driven out the Afghans 
from I sfahan and had occupied the city for Shah Tahmasp. The Chevalier 
gives, in this Extrait, a most favourable account of Nadir’s character and 
attainments, which should be read in conjunction with that given by Cockell. 2 

Amongst the other documents may be mentioned : — 

(i) Lettre sur Tahmas-Kouli-Kan, 4 crite de Constantinople le 8 Septembre 1736. 
This letter gives a brief and not inaccurate outline of Nadir’s humble origin 
and of his rise to prominence, besides mentioning his friendly attitude towards 
some French Capucin monks ; the information in this letter was, it is stated, 
obtained from an Armenian merchant who knew Nadir personally. 3 

(ii) Sundry reports and letters relating to the campaign in Mesopotamia in 1733, 
including translations of reports by Ahmad Pasha and Topal 'Osman Pasha. 4 

(iii) An account of the conquest of India, based upon a French translation of the 
Verdadeira Noticia , 6 by a French adventurer named de Voulton, 6 as well as 
on some letters from that individual. 

La Mamye-Clairac took great pains to indicate his sources, prefacing every 
section of his work with bibliographical details. 

La Mamye-Clairac died on the 6th May, 1750, the year in which his Histoire 
de Perse was published. Despite his interest in Persia, he wrote no other book 
regarding it, his time being, it seems, fully occupied with his duties as a 
military engineer and with the preparation of works on that subject. 7 


VI. JONAS HANWAY. 

Hanway has long been regarded as the principal English authority on the 
subject of Nadir Shah, 8 and his Travels 9 has been quoted very extensively 
by subsequent writers, both British and foreign. 

1 Vol. Ill, pp. 105-109 (see p. 42 note 1, and p. 47 above). 

1 See Fraser, pp. 227-234. 

* Vol. Ill, pp. 339-347- 
*Ibid., pp. 300-3x1. 

* I contributed to the Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies, Vol. IV, Part II, pp. 223-245, 

an annotated translation of the Portuguese text (published in Lisbon in 1740) of de Voulton's 
Noticia : according to that text, the original Was in Persian. When I made that translation 
I did not know that La Mamye-Clairac had utilised the Noticia. 

* Cultru, in his Dupleix : ses Plans, Politiques : sa Disgrace : Etude d’ Histoire Colonials, Paris, 

1901, p. 173, gives some details of de Voulton’s interesting career ; further information on 
the subject is to be found in a letter from Robert Orme to Lord Holdemess dated the nth 
March, 1755 (see p. 274 of the Orme MSS, in the India Office Library). 

» Only the first part of one of these works appears to have been published. It appeared seven 
years after the author’s death, and was entitled L’IngSnieur de Campagne, ou Traits de la 
Fortification Passagire (Paris, 1757) ; death supervened before La Mamye-Clairac could 
complete the second part. An English translation of the completed portion of L'Inginieur 
de Campagne was subsequently published in London. 

* T)r. Samuel Johnson, however, had no great opinion of Hanway. After the appearance of 

Hanway’s ponderous book, An Eight Days f Journey from London to Portsmouth, the Doctor 
remarked : “ Jonas acquired some reputation by travelling abroad, but lost it all by traveling 
at home " (Boswell’s Johnson, Vol. II, 122). Johnson’s animosity had really been aroused 
by Hanway’s Essay on Tea (the Doctor was not altogether consistent, for he had a great 
admiration for the well-known Scottish physician and wit, Dr. John Arbuthnot, who, like 
Hanway, looked upon tea-drinking as pernicious). 

* First published in London in 1753 i * 1 four volumes. The references in this book are to the first. 

eaxuan. 



APPENDIX III 


3°9 


When one subjects Hanway’s work to careful analysis, one finds, however, 
that it is unequal in quality. While all that he writes of his own personal 
experiences and his citations from the journals and statements of others, 
recording what they themselves underwent or witnessed, are most worthy 
of attention, the same cannot in every case be said of many of his statements 
which were founded on previous works or on information which he had obtained 
orally from other persons. 

He writes most graphically of his adventures during the Astarabad rebellion, 1 
and his description of Nadu’s camp, which he afterwards visited in order to 
seek redress for his losses, is most interesting. He never, however, held con- 
verse with Nadir, of whom he only caught a fleeting glimpse on one occasion. 2 

It is most fortunate that Hanway thought fit to give extracts in his work 
from the journals of Elton, Woodroofe, Thompson and van Mierop, as it is 
highly probable that, had he not done so, little or none of their contents 
would have been preserved. 

Hanway devotes nearly the whole of his third volume to the history of the 
twenty years preceding Nadir’s rise to prominence, but this account, far 
from being the result of original research, is merely an abridged translation 
of what La Mamye-Clairac had already written 3 : moreover, much of the use- 
fulness of the French original has been sacrificed by the suppression of the 
greater part of the bibliographical notes. Considering the extent to which 
Hanway made use of La Mamye-Clairac’s Ristoire, his acknowledgment to 
that writer seems most inadequate. 4 

Hanway’s principal sources for Nadir’s career up to the end of the Indian 
campaign are Fraser (or rather Cockell) and Otter. For the years 1741 to 
1744 he gleaned much valuable data from Elton, Bazin and other Europeans 
whom he met in Persia, and he likewise obtained some information from 
Persians. For the last three years of Nadir’s life, he probably obtained most 
of his data from those of his associates who remained in Persia after his 
departure. Some of his information was derived from Dr. John Cook, of 
Edinburgh, who was attached to the embassy under Prince M. M. Golitzin, 
which the Empress Elizabeth sent to Persia in 1746. 8 

Despite the fact that his book contains a number of mistakes and that it 
was not based upon any reliable Oriental source like the T a’rikh-i-Nadiri, 
it is a remarkable piece of work. He punctuates his narrative with many 
shrewd remarks, and gives what is, on the whole, a very just appreciation of 
Nadir’s character. He is a most important authority for the history of the 

1 Travels, Vol. I, pp. 192-219. 

'Ibid., pp. 243. 

• In Hanway’s third volume. Parts II to V correspond to the first volume of La Mamye-Clairac’s 

Histoire, while Parts VI to VIII correspond to the second volume of that work. 

4 See p. adi of his introduction, in Vol. I. 

* Dr. Cook lent Hanway his journal, extracts from which Hanway published in his first Volume 

(see pp. 360 to 378 and 385 to 391). Cook, in his subsequent work. Voyages and Travels 
through the Russian Empire, Tartary and pari of the Kingdom of Persia (Edinburgh, 1770), 
VoL II, pp. 299-301, severely criticises Hanway, particularly the latter’s attitude towards 
Elton. Though some of Cook’s criticisms are justified, he goes, on the whole, too far ; the 
chief reason for his rancour was that Hanway, after including much of bis (Cook's) journal, 
had added " Jesuitical fables ” (i.e., statements by Bazin) . As Cook put it, Hanway *' ought 
to have considered the difference there is between a man of honour, who hates a lie, and 
a Jesuit, a man whose principles are subversive of society." 



3io 


NADIR SHAH 


British trade with Persia via Russia, but his bias against Elton must betaken 
into account. His chronology, though not perfect, is far superior to that of 
Jones. 


VII, PERE BAZIN, S.J. 

Louis Bazin was bom at Avranches on the 24th May, 1712. In January, 
1731, he entered upon his noviciate, and, four years later, having completed 
his theological studies and obtained some knowledge of medicine, he left 
France for Persia. 1 From 1741 Bazin followed Nadir’s career with close 
attention. Hanway met him at Resht in February, 1744, 2 and again at Lahijan 
in the following August ; on the latter occasion Bazin gave Hanway some 
medical treatment. 2 In December, 1746, he was appointed chief physician 
to Nadir, and remained with him until his assassination. In February, 1751, 
he was at Bandar ‘Abbas, waiting for a ship to take him to France. In 1767 
he went to China ; he died at Peking on the 15th March, 1774. 

Two letters which Bazin wrote at Bandar ‘Abbas on the 2nd February, 
I 75 i» to Pere Roger, the Procureur-General des Missions du Levant, have been 
published in the Lettres Edifiantes 4 and also in the Missions du Levant. In 
the first of these letters he described rather briefly Nadir’s career up to the 
beginning of the Lazgi campaign in 1741 ; from that point onwards his narrative 
is far more detailed, and, in view of his special position at the court during the' 
last six months of Nadir’s life, it is of great interest and value for that period. 
Bazin's tent was pitched next to the one in which the Shah was sleeping on the 
night of the 20th June, 1747, and the Jesuit narrowly escaped with his life 
in the turmoil that followed Nadir’s assassination. A sketch-plan by Bazin 
of Nadir’s camp is reproduced in the Lettres Edifiantes. In his second letter, 
he described subsequent events in Persia up to the execution of ‘Adil Shah in 
x 749* 

Although Bazin was unquestionably an important authority for Nadir’s 
reign, he has been severely criticised not only by Cook, but also by the learned 
Langles ; the latter accused him of extreme partiality towards Nadir and 
of passing over without a word the Shah’s horrible intention of putting the 
Persians in his army to death ; Langl&s concluded his remarks by saying : 

“ Le silence de ce missionnaire ne peut balancer les autoritds que je viens de 
dter (Hanway, Mirza Mahdi and 'Abdu’l-Karim) ; il sert settlement k caract£riser 
r esprit jdsuitique et sacerdotale.” 5 


While Langl&s is justified in calling attention to Bazin’s omission of any refer- 
ence to Nadir’s terrible project, he ignores the fact that he, elsewhere in his 
account, did not hesitate to mention some acts of app alling cruelty of which 


1 These scanty details are taken from Volume I of the Catalogue de la Compagnie de Tisus by the 
Fathers Augustin and Aloys de Backer. 

* Han-way, Vol. I, p. 225. 

Vol. I. P- 3 2 5- 

* Pubhshed in Vd IV pp. 277-353 (Paris, 1780). 

See Langl&s s Notice Htstonque de la Perse, on n. 

VI tide, Paris, 1788. * 


p. 124 in Vol. II, of Voyages de la Perse dans 



APPENDIX III 


3 “ 

Nadir was guilty. As for Cook, his animus against the Jesuit was actuated 
merely by religious bigotry. 


VIII. SERGEI SOLOVIEV. 

Although Soloviev belongs to a much later age than that of Nadir, his 
inclusion in this Appendix is amply justified by the large amount of contem- 
porary material which he found in the Russian official archives and utilised 
in the compilation of those portions of his I stony a Rosii that relate to Russo- 
Persian relations during the period under review. 

Soloviev carefully studied the mass of reports from the Russian diplomatic, 
consular and military representatives stationed in Persia or on its borders. 
Of especial interest are the numerous reports from Kalushkin, who succeeded 
Prince Sergei Dimitrievich Golitzin as Russian Resident at Nadir’s court 
iu 1735- 

Soloviev’s history is also of importance in regard to the British trade with 
Persia via Russia and the Elton controversy. 


IX. MARIE-FELICITE BROSSET. 

Brosset, like Soloviev, belonged to a later generation, but he also worked 
in the official archives at Moscow and made much use of contemporary 
material. His chief claim to fame, of course, is his great Histoire de la Georgie , 
in which the translations of the histories of Sekhnia Chkheidze, the Tsarevich 
Vakhusht, and Papouna Orbelian are, inter alia, given. These histories 
contain a great deal of information respecting the Georgian connection with 
Persia during Nadir’s period. Brosset also includes a translation of the 
interesting letter regarding Nadir’s invasion of India which Irakli of Georgia 
wrote to his sister Anna when on his way back from Delhi in 1739 1 ; and there 
are some details of Nadir’s relations with King Taimuraz and Irakli in Brosset's 
translation of Oman Kherkheoulidze’s Life of Irakli, 2 and in his MatSriaux 
pour servir d V histoire de la Georgie. 2 

Lastly, mention must be made of Brosset’s translation of the most valuable 
first-hand account by the Armenian Catholicos, Abraham of Crete, of the events 
immediately preceding Nadir’s coronation and of the coronation ceremony 
itself. 4 


X. VON HAMMER-PURGSTALL. 

The excellence of von Hammer’s Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches needs 
no emphasizing in these pages. Thanks to von Hammer, the accounts by the 
official Turkish historiographers and other writers of Nadir’s campaigns 

1 See H. de la G., Vol. II, Part II, pp. 354-363. 

* See Ibid., Vol. II, Part II, pp. 205-210. 

* Published at St. Petersburg in 1841, in Mimoires, Sciences et Politiques, Vlth series, Vol. V, 

pp. 165-315. 

1 See Brosset’s Collection d’Historiens Armbtiens, St. Petersburg, 1876, Vol. II, pp. 259-338. 



NADIR SHAH 


312 

against Turkey and his diplomatic relations with that country, have been made 
easily accessible to European readers. Von Hammer’s exhaustive researches 
have resulted in the assembling of a fairly complete mosaic of the history of 
the period, as seen, for the most part, from the Turkish angle. It is natural 
that, not having access to many Persian and other non-Turkish sources which 
are now available, von Hammer should fall into some errors, 1 but these are, 
comparatively speaking, very few and far between. 

XL MISCELLANEOUS. 

In addition to the contemporary European sources mentioned above, a 
considerable number of articles and books respecting Nadir appeared in 
Europe during his life-time, some of which were based upon a very flimsy 
foundation of fact, while others were sheer fantasy. The German writer, 
who called himself “Pithander von der Quelle,” states that stories were 
current between 1734 and 1736 that Nadir was, variously, French, German, 
English and Braban^on by origin, 2 while others made out that he was Scottish 
or Irish (his then title of Tahmasp Quli Khan led one ingenious person to 
suppose that he was originally an Irishman named Thomas O’ Kelly who had, 
on going to Persia, changed his name to “ Tahmas Kuli ”). 3 * 

Mention is made in the Bibliography of the books on Nadir by de Claustre, 
du Cerceau, Le Margne and others. 

One of the first Europeans to meet Nadir was the Greek traveller, Basil 
Batatzes, who claimed to have had several “ secret conversations ” with the 
future conqueror at Mashhad, apparently in 1728. Batatzes states that when 
he left Mashhad, Nadir handed him a Jarman and a sum of money to defray 
his travelling expenses, and gave him some messages for General Levashev, 
the commander of the Russian forces in Gilan at that time. 

Batatzes abstains from giving any detailed description of Nadir, and his 
exploits, because, he says, he has already done so in a detailed biography. 
This work has now, however, disappeared ; it was read by D. D. Philippides in 
1809, who, seven years later, published his recollections of it in his Taropia 
ri }s Pov/tovvtay with the Sub-title I Ta fivr)p,ovevop,eva rfjs irpo tirra tviavrmv 
avayvuicrdeurrjs rjpw ‘Icrroptas rov <ria % Na Sip crvvre&eurrjs irapa rov jSara rfo fivfavTiov.* 

It is a mystery why Philippides waited seven years before committing 
these recollections to paper, and why, when he did do so, he included them in 
a history of Roumania. 

I have not been able to examine Philippides’s recollections, 5 but Professor 
Minorsky, who has done so at the BibliothSque Nationale, assures me that 
they are of little value. 

l e.g., bis confusion between the expedition of the Qalgha Fatb Girai to Daghistan in 1733 and 
that of the Khan of the Crimea to the same country two years later. 

* Herkunffi, Leben und Thaten des Persianischen Monarchens, S chock Nadyr V of mats Kouli-Chan 

Genannt. Leipzig, 1738. This is the earliest complete work of any size on the subject 
of Nadir that I have been able to trace. As it is of no real importance as a source, I have not 
given its author a separate notice. 

* See Nadir Shah, the Stanhope Essay for 1885, by H. J. (now Sir Herbert J.) Maynard, Oxford, 

1885, P* xx* 

at Leipzig in 1816. See Vol. I, 2nd Part, 2nd Supplement, p. 22. 

§ T here is no Copy of his < laropla rijs ‘Povvovvias in the British Mnwnm Tihrarv 



APPENDIX III 


3i3 


CONCLUDING REMARKS. 

A great deal of work yet remains to be done before it can be claimed that 
our knowledge of Nadir Shah and his times is reasonably complete. 

There is a large amount of material in the archives and libraries at Moscow, 
Leningrad, Constantinople, Vienna and Paris that would well repay examina- 
tion, but this would be a lengthy and arduous task ; there may also be some 
material in Tehran and elsewhere in Persia. 

Secondly, there are the records of the Dutch East India Company s repre- 
sentatives in Persia ; these records, which are at The Hague, would enable 
one to supplement the valuable data contained in those of the English East 
India Company. So far as I am aware, these Dutch records have not, up to 
the present, been utilised as a source for Nadir's history. 

Lastly, there may still be much to be gleaned in the contemporary press 
of various European countries. I have discovered a number of interesting 
references to Nadir in the London papers 1 from 1731 onwards, and there are, 
no doubt, similar discoveries to be made in the foreign press of the time. 
I have come across, but have not been able to follow up, references to articles 
in the Gazette de Hollande . 

1 The Daily Post, The General Advertiser, The Daily Courant, The Daily Journal , etc. I have had 
ins uffi cient tim e to explore thoroughly the copies of these papers in the British Museum. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 


N.B.— Those authorities of whom mention is made in the bibliographical appendix (No. Ill) 
are marked with an asterisk. 


‘Abbas Quli Aqa Qudsi BaMkhanov. GuUstan-Iram , Baku, 1926. 
‘Abdu’l-Karim ‘Alavi. Ta’rikh-i-Ahmad, Lucknow, 1850. 

‘Abdu'l-Karim “ Nadim " ibn isma'il Bukhari. Afghan va Kabul va Bukhara 
va Khivaq va Khanlarinih ahval , Vol. I. (Persian text) Bulaq, 1873. 
Vol. II (French translation) : Histoire de I’Asie centrale [Afghanistan, 
Boukhara, Khiva, Khoqand) depuis les dernieres annees du regne de Nadir 
Chah (1153), jusqu’en 1233 de I’Hegire (1740-1818) par Mir Abdoul Kerim 
Boukhary publiee, traduite et annotee par Charles Schefer, Paris, 1876. 
♦‘Abdu’l-Karim ibn ‘Aqibat Mahmud Kashmiri. Bayan-i-Waqi' (also known 
as the Nadir-Nama or Ta’rikh-i-Nadiri). British Museum MS. Add. 
8909. Partly translated into English by (a) Lieut. H. G. Pritchard 
(B.M. MS., Add. 30782, foil. 64-112), and (b) by Francis Gladwin, The 
Memoirs of Khojeh Abdulrkuneem, Calcutta, 1788 ; French translation 
of Gladwin’s version by L. Langl&s, Voyage de VInde d la Mecque, Paris, 
1797. 

‘Abdu’llah ibn Husain as-Suwaidi. Kitab alrHujjaj al-Qati‘ya li Ittifaq 
al-Firaq al-Islamiyya, Cairo, 1324 A.H. (a.d. 1906/7). See also under 
Schmidt, Professor A. E. 

‘Abdullah ibn Nuri’d-Din ibn Ni'matillah al-Husaini ash-Shushtari. Tadhkira- 
yi-Shushtariyya. B.M. MS., Add. 23534. 

'Abdu’l-Wahhab (“ Qafra ”). Shamsu’t-Tawarikh. Browne MS. No. G.17. 
'Abdu’r-Razzaq Beg " Maftun ” ibn.Najaf Quli Khan DunbuH. Ma’athir-i- 
Suttaniyya, Tabriz, 1826. English translation by Sir H. J. Brydges : 
The Dynasty of the Kajars translated from the original Persian manuscript 
presented by His Majesty Faty Ali Shah to Sir H. J. Brydges, London, 
1833. 

Abraham, Catholicos, of Crete. Mon Histoire et celle de Nadir, Chah de 
Perse. . Translated into French and annotated by M. F. Brosset in his 
Collection d’Historiens Armeniens, Vol. II, St. Petersburg, 1876. 
Abu’l-Ilasan ibn Amin Gulistana. Mujmalu’t-Ta’rikh-i-Btfd Nadiriyya. 
Edited and annotated by Oskar Mann and published under the title of : 
Das Mujmil ei-Tdrikh-i Ba'dnddirije, Leiden, 1891. Partly translated 
by Sir J. Sarkar, in the Modern Review, Calcutta, 1929, Vol. XLV. 
Abu’l-Hasan ibn Ibrahim Qazvini. Fava’id-i-Safaviyya. India Office MS. 

2191 and B.M. MS. Add. 16698. 

Ahmad Aqa Tabrizi, Sayyid. 

(1) Afsharharyi-Khuzistan. Ayanda, Nos. 4 and 5> Tehran, 1925. 

,(2) I niiqadri-Maqala raji‘ bi-Tarzi-yi-Afshar, Ayanda, Nos. 8 and 9, 
1926. 


3i4 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 


3iJ 


(3) Ilri-Afshar. Ayanda, Nos. 8 and 9, 1928. 

Ahmad Kasrawi, Sayyid. T a’rikh-i-Panj-Sad Sala-yi-Khuzistan. Tehran, 
1312(1931/2). 

‘All Quli Mirza, I'tizadu’s-Saltana. Ta’rikh-i-WaqaH wa Sawanihri-A fghan- 
istan. Tehran , 1273 (1856/7). 

Allen, W. E. D. A History of the Georgian People, from the leginning down 
to the Russian Conquest in the Nineteenth Century , London, 1932. 

Amra Chandiri. Ilala-yi-Nadir Shah. India Office MS. 4008. 

Anand Ram Mukhlis. Tadhkira. (1) Incomplete English translation by 
Lieutenant Perkins, B. M. MS., Add. 30, 780, foil. 162 (a), 184 (a). (2) Ex- 
tracts from the above in Sir H. Elliot’s History of India as told by its 
own Historians, Yol. VIII, pp. 76-98. 

Anonymous. A genuine History of Nadir Cha, present Shah . . . with 
a particular account of Us conquest of the Mogul’s country. . . . Translated 
from the original Persian MS. into Dutch by the order of J. A. Sechterman, 
President of the Dutch factory at Bengal, and now done into English. 
London (2nd Edition), 1741. 

Anonymous. Comedia Herioca, Kouli-Kan Rey de Persia, en Cinco Ados. 
(Translated from Italian.) Barcelona (?), 1790. 

Anonymous. Dhikr-i-A hvaUi-N adir Shah, foil. 16-22 of B.M. MS., Add. 
16855. 

Anonymous. Letter from an Armenian at Jalalabad, dated 1st November, 
1738, to Kalushkin, Russian Resident at Isfahan. See Brosset, H. de 
la G., Vol. II, Part II, pp. 364-70. 

Anonymous. 1 Histoire de Thamas Kouli-Kan Sophi de Perse, Amsterdam, 
1740, 2 vols. An English translation of Vol. I entitled. The History of 
Thamas Kouli Kan, Sophi of Persia, was published in London in 1740. 
In 1742 this volume was reprinted together with a translation of the 
second volume, the whole being entitled, The Compleat History of Thamas 
Kouli Kan [at present called Schah Nadir, Sovereign of Persia). Written 
in French and rendered into English with improvements. An Italian 
translation of the first volume, entitled Istoria di Thamas Kouli-Kan, 
Soft di Persia, appeared in London in 1740, and a Spanish edition (of 
Vols. I and II) under the title Historia de Thamas Kouli Kan was pub- 
lished in Madrid in 1742. 

Anonymous. MS. history of Nadir Shah in Persian ; Biblioth£que Nationale, 
Paris, No. 420, Supplement 233. This work, which bears no title, is 
unfinished ; it deals with events up to 1153 a.h. (a.d. 1740/41). 2 

Anonymous. Relagam da Cdebre Embaxada que 0 Principe dos Bezancudos 

1 A. A. Baxbier, in Ms Dictionnaire des Oitvrages Anonymes et Pseudonymes composts, traduits ou 
publiis en fyanfais . . . Paris, 1806-9, Vol. IV, page 133, wrongly attributes this work to the 
Jesuit, Pfere J. A. du Cerceau. This attribution is dearly incorrect, because the book deals 
with events up to 1739, while du Cerceau died on the 4th July, 1730 (see de Backer, Vol. II, 
p. 967). Confusion may have arisen because du Cerceau was the author of the Histoire des 
revolutions de Perse depuis le commencement de ce Siicle jusqu’h la fin du rigne de P usurp ateur 
A straff, which was not published until 1742. 

* Monsieur E. Blochet, in Vol, I, p. 302, of Ms Catalogue des Manuscripts Persons, expresses the 
■view that this MS. may be the work by Tahir Beg wMch Colonel Gentil (q.v!) utilised ; 
although Colonel Gentil presented this MS. to the Bibliothfeque Nationale, he appears, how- 
ever, to have derived the information in Ms Abr£g£ from another work. 



NADIR SHAH 


316 

Mandou ao Schach in Persia , Tha’mas Kouli-Khan. (Anonymously 
translated from French), Lisbon, 1744 * 

Anonymous. Risala-yi-M uhammad Shah va Khan Dauran (Memoirs of 
Khan Dauran). B.M., MS. OR.180. 

Anonymous. Sahifa-yi-lqbal. B.M. MS. OR.3281. 

Anonymous. 

1. Tahmas-Kouli-Khan , in Archiv fur Geographic, Historie, Staats rnd 
Konigs Krnst, Vienna, No. 123, pages 493-496, 9th and 12th October, 
1812. 

2. Ziige aus dem Leben des Nadir Schach, in the above, No. 78, pages 
313 and 314, 1815. 

Aroutine. Tambouri. 

i f Tahmas Quli Xanin tevariki yazilmis isdambollu Tamburi Arutinden 
osmanli elcisi ile yolgulugunda Agemistan taraflarina. Bir aim 
Kimsenin cahdi ve hargi ile basma olundu, Venice, 1800. 

2. Journal de -, sur la Conquete de VInde par Nadir Schah, traduit du 
turc par Y. Artin Pacha. Bulletin de I’Institut Egyptien. Ve. S 4 rie, 
Cairo, 1914, Vol. VIII, pages 168-232. 

Artin Pasha, Y. See Aroutine, Tambouri. 

Babinger, F. Die Geschichtsschreiber der Osmanen und ihre Werke. Leipzig, 
19 27 - 

Badger, Rev. G. P. See Salil ibn Raziq. 

Barthold, V. V. 

1. Articles on Daghistan, Khwarizm, etc., in E.I. 

2. 0 Nekotorikh Vostoknikh Rukopisyakh, in the Izvestiya, Akademiya 
Nauk, Petrograd, 1919, Vol. II, pp. 927-930. 

Batatzes, Basil. Voyages de Basile Vatace en Europe et en Asie, publUs 
par E. Legrand, Paris, 1886. See also under Philippides, D.D. 

* Bazin, P&re Louis, S. J. MSmoires sur les dernilres annies du rlgne de Thamas 
Kouli-Kan et sa mort tragique, contenus dans une lettre du Frere (sic) 
Bazin. Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses, Paris, 1780, Vol. IV, pp. 277-321. 
Seconde lettre . . . contenant les revolutions qui suivirent la mort de Thamas 
Kouli Kan. Ibid., pp. 322-364. 

Belfour, F. C. See Muhammad ‘Ali Hazin, Shaikh. 

Blochet, E. Catalogue des Mamscrits Persans (in the BibliothAque Nationale, 
Paris), Vol. I, Paris, 1905. 

Bougainville, J. P. de. Parallele de V expedition d‘ Alexandre dans les Indes 
avec la conquHe des mhnes contrees par Thamas-Kouli - Khan, Paris, 1752. 
Bratishchev, V. Izvestiye 0 proishedshikh mezhdu Shakhom Nadirom i 
Reza Kuli mirzoyu pechalnikh proishestviyakh v Persii, 1741-1742, St. 
Petersburg, 1763. German translation by G. F. Muller, in his Sammlung 
Russischer GeschicUe, St. Petersburg, 1763, Vol. VIII, pp. 459 ~ 5 ° 3 » 
entitled : Nachricht von Denen Traurigen Begebenheiten, die sich zwischen 
cbm Persischen Schache Nadir und Dessen Altesten Sohne Resa-Kuli-Mirsa 
in den Jahren 1741 und 1742 zugetragen haben. 

Brosset, L. See Butkov, P. G. 

*Brosset, Marie-FaidtA 

(1) See Abraham, Catholicos, of Crete. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 


3 I 7 

(2) Histoire de la GSorgie, Vol. II, Parts I and II. St. Petersburg, 1856-7. 
See also under Vakhusht, Sekhnia Chkheidze and Papouna Orbelian. 

(3) Materiaux pour servir d V Histoire de la Georgie. St. Petersburg, 1841. 
Browne, Edward Granville. A History of Persian Literature in Modern Times , 

Cambridge, 1924. 

Brydges, Sir H. J. See ‘Abdu’r-Razzaq Beg “ Maftun.” _ 

Buckingham, J. S. Travels in Assyria, Media, and Persia, London, 1830. 
Buisson, M. du. Nadir ou Thamas-Kouli-Kan Tragedie. Preface, pp. 
i -75 Notes Historiques sur Nadir ou Thamas-Kouli-Kan, Roi de Perse, 
pp. 76-84. Paris, 1780. (This work is based mainly on Hanway.) 
Busching, A. F. Magazin fur die Neue Historie und Geographie, Vols. Ill 
and X, Hamburg, 1769-1776. See under Lerch, Dr. J. J., and Schnese. 
Bussy, de. Remarques sur I’Histoire de Nader Cha, Roy de Perse. India 
Office : Orme MSS., Vol. XXIII. 

Butkov, P. G. Materiali dlia novoy Istorn Kavkaza, 1722-1803, St. Peters- 
burg, 1869. 3 vols. (Vol. Ill contains a summary by L. Brosset.) 
Carmelites of Basra. Chronicle of Events between the years 1623 and 1733. 
relating to the Settlement of the Order of Carmelites in Mesopotamia . . . 
now edited for the first time with a translation from a unique MS . 1 in the 
possession of the Author, London, 1927. (Edited and translated from the 
Latin by Sir Hermann Gollancz.) 

Continuation of the above (in Latin), entitled : 

Continuatio — domesticae Bassorensis histories ab anno 1733 (up to 1778),. 
in the Analecta Ordinis Carmelitarum Discalceatorum, Vol. VIII, Fasc. I, 
Rome, 1933. 

Castonnet des Fosses, H. Les Relations de la France avec la Perse. Angers, 
1889. 

*Clairac, Louis Andr6 de la Mamye. Histoire de Perse depuis le commencement' 
de ce siecle. Paris, 1750. 

Claustre, Andr 4 de. Histoire de Thamas Kouli Kan, Roi de Perse. Nouvelle 
Edition. Paris, 1743. 

Cockell, "William. See under Fraser, James. (A number of letters from 
Cockell are contained in the East India Company’s records (q.v.).) 
Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, Journal of. Vol. XLVIII, 1735 “ 
1741. (London, 1930.) 

Cook, Dr. John. 

1. Voyages and Travels through the Russian empire, Tartary, and part 
of the kingdom of Persia. Edinburgh, 1770. 

2. Journal (extracts published by Hanway (q.v.) in his work, Vol. I,, 
pages 360-378 and 385-391). 

Curzon, Earl, of Kedleston. Persia and the Persian Question, London, 1892. 
Daily Coward, The . Sunday newsletters from St. Petersburg, Constantinople* 
Vienna, etc. 

Daily Journal, The. Sunday newsletters from St. Petersburg, Constantinople,. 
Vienna, etc. 

1 As the editor of the Continuatio has pointed ont on p. 47 of Fasc. I of Vol. VIII of the Analecta, 
the late Sir H. Gollancz was in error in stating that his MS. of the earlier portion of the- 
Chronicle was nniqae. 



3 i 8 NADIR SHAH 

Daily . Post, The. Sunday newsletters from St. Petersburg, Constantinople, 
Vienna, etc. 

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Dowson, Professor John. See Elliot, Sir Henry Miers. 

Drouville, Colonel G. Voyage en Perse, Vols. I and II. Paris, 1828. 
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1. Nadir Shah. London, 1908. 

2. Nadir Shah, J.R.A.S., 1908. 

♦East India Company. 

1. Persia and the Persian Gulf Records at the India Office. 

Vol. IV. Gombroon Diary, 1728-1737. 

Vol. V. „ „ 1737-1746. 

Vol. VI. „ „ 1746-1752. 

Vol. XV. Letters from Gombroon, etc., 1729-1752. 

2. Bombay Public Consultations (sundry volumes). 

3. Surat Commercial Diary and Consultations, Vols. XX-XXV. 

4. London Outward Letter Box, Vols. XXIV, XXV and XXVI. 

Elliot, Sir Henry Miers. The History of India as told by its own Historians. 

Edited and continued by Professor John Dowson. London, 1867. 
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1. Journal (extracts from this are given in Vol. I of Hanway’s Travels). 

2. Copy of a Paper given to Mr. Finch at Petersburg by Captain Elton, 
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man's Magazine, 1742, Vol. XII, pages 21-25. 

3. Further Memorandum, also in the above, pages 26-28. 

See also below, under Elton, J., and Graeme, M. 

Elton, J., and Graeme, M. A Journey through Russia into Persia by Two 
English Gentlemen who went in the year 1739 from Petersburg, in order 
to make a Discovery how the Trade from Great Britain might be carried on 
from Astracan over the Caspian. To which is annex'd a Summary Account 
of the Rise of the famous Kouli Kan, and his Successes, till he seated himself 
on the Persian Throne. London, 1742. 

Emin, Joseph. The Life and Adventures of J. E., an Armenian, written in 
English by himself. London, 1792. 

Fasa’i, Hasan ibn Hasan. Fars-Nama-yi-Nasiri. Tehran, 1805. 

Ferrier, General J. P. 

1. History of the Afghans. Translated by Captain William Jesse. 
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2. Caravan Journeys and Wanderings in Persia, Afghanistan, Turkistan 
and Bdoochistan. Translated by Captain William Jesse. London, 
1856. 

♦^raser, James. The History of Nadir Shah, formerly called Thamas Kuli 
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BIBLIOGRAPHY 


3i9 


Fraser, James Baillie. 

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Hellert, J. J. See Hammer-Purgstall, J. von. 

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Irakli II, of Georgia. Letter to his sister Anna respecting Nadir’s expedition 
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354 - 363 - 

Irvine, William. 

1. Later Mughals. Calcutta, 1922, Vol. II. (Chapters XI, XII and 
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2. Some Notes on James Fraser. J.R.A.S. , 1899, pages 214-220. 

3. See also under Tilok Das. 

‘Ishrat, Ni?amu’d-Din, Sialkoti Quraishi. Shahnama-yi-Nadiri. B.M. MS 
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James, Major H. R. Report on the Settlement of the Peshawar District. 
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Jesse, Captain W. See Ferrier, General J. P. 

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Jourdain, A. La Perse ou Tableau de VHistoire du Gouvernement, de la 
Religion, de la Litterature . . . de cet Empire, des Moeurs et Coutumes de 
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Kaul, R. B. Pandit Hari Kishan. Editor of Ballad on Nadir Shah’s Invasion 
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Mirze,' kasayushchiyasa Indiiskikh pokhodov Nadira. S Persidskikh 
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K is hm ishev, S. 0. Pokhodi Nadir Shaha v Gerat (Herat), Kandagar (1 Qanda - 
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Klaproth, H. J. Von. Tableau Historique, Giographique, Ethnographique 
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Langl&s, L. M. Notice chronologique de la Perse depuis les Temps les plus 
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321 

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Leech, Major Robert. Brief History of Kalat , Brought down to the Deposition 
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Legrand, Emile. See Batatzes, Basil. 

Le Margne. Vida de Thamas Kouli-Kan. Madrid, 1741. 

Lerch, Dr. Johann Jacob. 

1. Auszug aus dem Tagebuch von einer Reise, welche D. Johann Jacob 
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See also under Schnese. 

Levshin, A. Opisanie Kirgiz-Kazachikh, Hi, Kirgiz-Kaisatskikh Ord i Stepei. 
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1. De Voulton’s Noticia. Translated, with introduction and notes by 
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Longrigg, S. H. Four Centuries of Modern ‘Iraq. Oxford, 1925* 

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See also under Rawlinson, Sir H. C. 

Maclagan, Sir E. D. 

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Mahmud al-Musavi, Sayyid. Kitab-i-Aqvam va Firqaha-yi-Afghan, B.M. 

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Malcolm, Sir John. 

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2. Translations of two Letters of Nadir Shah, with Introductory Observations 
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Sketch of the Sikhs. Asiatick Researches, Vol. XI, 1810, page 238. 



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2. Wdqi aMran va Hind. India Office MS. No. 17.14. 



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NADIR SHAH 


3 2 4 

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Picault, Charles. Histoire des Revolutions de Perse pendant la duree du 



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Chronide, Vol. II, Third Series, pages 319-326. London, 1882. 



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326 

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Saignes, Pere. Letter from Chandemagor, 10th February, 1740. Lettres 
Edifiantes et Curieuses. Paris, 1780. Vol. IV, pages 230-277. 

Sald anha , J. A. Selections from State Papers, Bombay, regarding the East 
India Company’s Connection with the Persian Gulf, with a Summary of 
Events, 1600-1000. Calcutta, 1908. 

Salil ibn Raziq. The History of the Imams and Seyyids of ‘Oman. London, 
1871. (Translated by the Rev. G. P. Badger.) 

Sarkar, Sir Jadunath. 

1. Nadir Shah in India. Patna, 1925. 

2. Nadir Shah’s Invasion of India (Chapters XI to XIII in Vol. II of 
William Irvine’s Later Mughals.) See also Abu’l-Hasan ibn Amin 
Gulistana. 

Schefer, C. Chrestomathie Persane. 2 vols. Paris, 1885. See also under 
‘Abdu’l Karim “ Nadim ” ibn Isma'il Bukhari. 

Schmidt, Professor A. E. Iz Istorii Sunnitsko-Shiitskikh Otnoshenii (con- 
tained in W. Barthold’s Festschrift, Tqdu’l-Juman, Tashkend, 1927, 
pages 69-107). 

(Analysis of ‘Abdu’llah ibn Husain as-Suwaidi’s Kitab al-Hujjaj alr-Qat'- 
lya li Ittifaq al-Firaq al-Islamiyya. Cairo, 1324 (1906/7).) 

Schnese, Gesandschaft-Chirurgos. Account included in Dr. J. J. Lerch’s. 
Nachricht von der zweiten Reise nach Persien von 1745 bis 1747, in Biisch- 
ing’s Magazin, Vol. X, pages 461-466. (See also under Lerch, Dr. J. J.) 
Sekhnia Chkheidze. Chronique (in H. de la G., Vol. II, Part II, pages 32-54). 
St* Petersburg 

Shakir Khan. Tadhkira. B.M. MS. Add. 6585. 

Smith, Lieut. -Colonel A. G. Baird. A Short Reign of Terror : Delhi — A.D „ 
1738. Indian Empire Review, 1936, pp. 63-69. 

♦Soloviev, Sergei. Istoriya Rossii. Moscow. Vols. XlX-XXII. 

Srivastava, Dr. Ashirbadi Lai. The First two Nawabs of Oudh. A Critical 
Study Based on Original Sources. Lucknow, 1934. 

♦State Papers, Public Record Office, London. 

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and the British Diplomatic Representatives at St. Petersburg, 1729- 

mi-, 

2. Series S.P.gy, Vols. XXV to XXXIII. Correspondence between 
Whitehall and the British Diplomatic Representatives at Constantinople* 
1728-1748. 



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328 NADIR SHAH 

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pp. xi-xv 
, 1729 and 

in Europa. 



INDEX OF THE SOURCES QUOTED IN THE TEXT 

N.B.— Only the most important references are given in the case of frequently quoted sources like 
the Ta'rikh-i-Nadiri ; such sources are marked with an asterisk. 


(Une) Ambassade frangaise en Orient sous Louis XV : la Mission du Marquis de Villeneuve, 
1728-1741, by Albert Vandal, 58, 76, 327. 

Atash-Kada, by Lutf ‘Ali Beg Adhax, 23, 62, 276, 277, 300, 321. 

Auszug aus dem Tagebuch von eine Reise welche Dr. J. J. Lerch von 1733 bis 1735 aus Moscau 
nach Astrachan, und in die auf der west Seite des Caspischen Sees Belegene Landes, gethan hat, 
by Dr. J. J. Lerch, 83, 85, 321 

*Bayan-i-Waqi', by'Abdu’l-Karim Kashmiri, 21, 136, 147-149, 186, 195, 274, 275, 301, 314 
Beschreibung des Feldzuges des Thamas Kulichan, by Father J. Thiefienthaler, S.J., 138, 145, 148, 
149, 3 2 7 

Beschreibung von Arabien, by Caxsten Niebuhr, 217-219, 241, 243, 324 
Boukhara, its Emir and its People, by N. de Khanikoff, 190, 320 
Brief History of Kalat, by Major R. Leech, 158, 161, 321 

(A) Calendar of the Madras Records, 1740-1744, by Professor H. H. Dodwell, 213, 277, 284 
Chahar Guldhar Shuja'i, by Harcharan Das, 135, 141, 142, 148, 149, 319 

Chronicle of Events between the years 1623 and 1733 relating to the Settlement of the Order of Car- 
melites in Mesopotamia . . . (edited and translated by Sir Hermann Gollancz), 317 

Chronique, of Papouna Orbelian (translated by M. F. Brosset mH.de la G,), 204, 240, 248, 259, 
3 ii, 324 

Chronique , of Sekhnia Chkheidze (translated by M. F. Brosset bxH.de la G.), 85, 91, 104, 1x3, 172, 

326 

Chronique Syriaque relative au Siige de Mossoul par les Per sans en 1743, by Habfeche (French trans- 
lation by M. H. Pognon), 228, 229, 319 

Continuatio domesticae Bassorensis historiae ab anno 1733 . . . (continuation of the Carmelites 
Chronicle), 235, 236, 3x7 

Daurayi-Mukhtagar-i-T a’rihh-i-Iran, by Mirza Muhammad 'Ali, 62, 323 

Documents surl’Histoire, la GSographie et le Commerce de VAfrique Orientate, by Charles Guillain, 
182,183,216-219,319 

Durra-yi-Nadira, by Mirza Muhammad Mahdi Kaukabi, of Astarabad, 38, 52, 56, 70-72, 76-78, 
83, 88, 102, iio, 114, 115, 118, 296, 323 

Dynasty of the Kajars (Sir H. J. Brydges's English translation of 'Abdu'r-Razzaq’s Ma’athir- 
i-Sultaniyya), 9, 26, 317 

Essai sur VHistoire des Relations Politiques Irano-Ottomanes de 1722 h 1747, by Dr. Mohammed 
AH Hekmat, 12, 3x9 

Faoa’id-i-$afaviyya, by Abu’l-Hasan ibn Ibrahim Qazvini, 295, 314 

Fars-N am a-yi-Nagiri, by Hasan ibn Hasan Fasa’i, 8, 15, 20, 43, 60, 80, 108, 225, 302, 3x8 

(The) First Two Nawabs of Ouih, by Dr. A. L. Srivastava, 124, 145, 326 

Four Centuries of Modern 'Iraq, by S. H. Longrigg, 38, 66, 73, 76, 226, 229, 321 

*Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches, by Baron J. von Hammer-Purgstall (J. J. Hellert's French 
translation), 57, 64, 68-71, 73, 75, 105, 106, 222, 223, 248, 251, 255, 256, 311, 312, 319 

Geschichte Shirwans, by Bernhard Dom, 7, 87, 9 2 . 318 

Glory of the Shia World, by Major (later Sir) P. M. Sykes and Bahadur Ahmad Din Khan, 197 


32Q 



33° INDEX OF SOURCES 

Gombroon Diary (of the Agent and Council of the East India Co. at Gombroon) a8 ao a a 

78. 93. 113. 179, 182-184, 212, 214-220, 280, 284, 303, 304, 318 ’ 3 ' 4 44, 62 ' 6S * 

Gulistan Iram by 'Abbas Quli Bakikhanov, 95, 3x4 

JJalat-i-N adir Shah, by Axnra Chandiri, 124, 315 

1 $ ay at-i- Afghani, by Muhammad Hayat Khan, 2, 158, 159, 323 

Histoire do Cahheti, by the Tsarevich Vakhusht (Brosset’s French translation in H do in r\ 

_ 2, 170, 248, 311, 327 ae la G.) k 

Histoire de Karthli, by the^Tsarevich Vakhusht (Brosset’s French translation in H. de la G) 

Histoire de l’ Age Centrale (C. Schefefs French translation of 'Abdu’l-Karim Bukhari’s A fehan va, 
Kabul va Bukhara va Khtvaq va Rhanlanmn), igo, 192, 207, 314 ^ an var 

Histone de la Giorgie, by M. F. Brosset (see also under Chroniques of Sekhnia Chkheidzo and 
F^pouna Orbelian, the Histoire de Karthli, of the Tsarevich Vakhusht, etc.), ^7 126, 128 

Histoire de Perse depuis le Commencement de ce Sticle, by L. A. de la Mamye-Clairac 8 it 

4 2 . 43. 47. 50, 68, 69, 307-309, 317 3 ’ ’ ’ 39 " 

Histoire de Thamas Koulihan, by A. de Claustre, 57, 317 

(An) Historical Account of the British Trade over the Caspian Sea : with a Journal of Travel < 
through Russia into Persia .to which are added, The Revolutions of Persia duriZtt 
present century, with the particular history of the great usurper Nadir Kouli, by Jonas HaSiav ' 
23. 26, 63, 65, 73, 74, 88, 98, 102, 104, 1 13, 124, 133, i 49j 154, I55 , j 75> X 86, 308-310 310 
History of Bokhara, by A. V&mb&ry, 1, 164, 327 

(The)Hirtory of Indians told by its own Historians, by Sir H. M. Elliot and Professor J. Dowson,. 

Hirtory of Persia, by Sir John Malcolm, 21, 153, 156, 197, 208, 209, 273, 302, 321 

History of Persia, by Sir Percy Sykes, 150, 327 

History of the Georgian People, by W. E. D. Allen, 86, 91, 315 

° f ° mdn ' ^ SaH1 ibn * a2 * q ( translated b 7 Rev. G. P. Badger),. 

History of the Mongols, by Sir H. Howorth, 63, 96, 193, 320 
’Imadu's-Sa'adat, by Ghulam 'AH Naqavi, 124, 138, 140, 3x9 

Irakh^I, letter bom, to his sister Anna (translated by M. F. Brosset in H. de la <?.), 128, i 3 8 fa 

IstoriyaRossii, by Sergei Soloviev, 7, 10, 11, 86, 90, 92, 104, 107, 200, 206, 210, 311, 326 

Jz Istoni Sunmtsko-Shiitskikh Otnoshenii, by Professor A. E. Schmidt, 232, 233, 272, 274 326 

Jauhar-i-$am?am, by Muhammad Muhsin Siddiqi, 124, 130, 139, 144, 323 

Journal de Tambour i Aroutine sur la Conquite de I’Inde par Nadir Schah, 106, 127, 316 

1^/ f. nUgk Russia int0 Persia • • • b y Captain John Elton and Mungo Graeme, 175, 318: 

* «• * » -4. -7-9. 132, 163-174, ,78-180, ,87-. 

Kitab-i-Tahqiq va Ta’dad-i-A qvam-i-Afghan, by Sayyid Muhammad al-Musavi, 31, 61 
Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses, Vol. IV : 

Letter from Pfere Bachoud, 7 

*’ *> .. Saignes, 147, 149, 326 

c ’’ . ” »» des Vignes, 249, 275 280, 281, 327 

See also under MSmoires (Pfcre Bazin). 57 

Life and Adventure, by Joseph Emin, 68, 318 

I722 - l80 3' * Bntkov, 3. 10-12, 30, 58, 64. 83. 86, S 9 .. 

Maktub-i-Nadiri, 102, 324 

Mmm sue laParRe UbUimO, * Vide CMralt, by N. de KhanikoS. ,12 1,4 264 277 320. 
Mlmms Mstonqws, toUums a m fa Rustic, by C. H. Mabstein, 50, 86, 322 ’ 



INDEX OF SOURCES 331 

Mimoires sur les derniires annSes du rhgne de Thamas Kouli-Kan et sa mort tragique, contenus dans 
me lettre du Frire Bazin, 20, 97, 201, 203, 207, 209, 258-261, 263, 269, 273, 275, 276, 278, 
310, 316 

Mon Histoire et celle de Nadir, Chah de Perse, by the Catholicos Abraham of Crete, 87-89, 91, 97, 
98, 101-104, 279, 293, 311, 314 

(Das) Mujmil et-Tdrikh-i Ba'dnddirtje, by Abu’l-Hasan ibn Amin Gulistana, 259, 262-264, 314 
Muqaddama-yi-Shah ‘Alam-Nana, by Gh ulam 'Ali Khan, 131, 319 

N achricht von denen Traurigen Begebenheiten, die sick zwischen den Persischen Schache Nadir 
und Dessen Altesten Sohne Resa-Kuli-Mirsa in den Jahren 1741 und 1742 zugetragen huben, 
by V. Bratishchev, 174, 177-179, 200, 201, 206, 207, 209, 3x6 

N achricht von der zweite Reise nach Persien von 1745 bis 1747, by Dr. J. J. Letch, 81, 206, 207* 
289, 290, 321 

Nadir Shah, by James Fraser, 20, 37, 63, 108, 113, 124, 133, 136, 140, 142, 143, 147, 267, 268, 
2 7 2 » 2 73> 304-306, 309, 318 

Nadir Shah in India, by Sir Jadunath Sarkar, 133, 135, 140, 147, 149, 326 

Nadir Var, a poem by Nijabat (translated by R. B. Pandit Hari Kishan Kaul), 124, 138, 324 

Narrative of a Residence in Koordistan, by C. J. Rich, 73, 230, 231, 325 

Narrative of a Journey into Khorasan in the years 1821 and 1822, by James Baillie Fraser, 1 89, 
264, 268, 319 

Nasikhu’t-Tawarikh, by Muhammad TaqiSipihr, 14, 15, 323 

Nicodfeme, letter to the Marquis de Villeneuve (in von Hammer), 68, 70, 71, 324 

Nisf-i- Jakanfi Ta’rikh-i-Isfahan, by M nha.m-ma. rl Mahdi ibn Muhammad Rida, 177, 197, 281, 323 

*Nadir-Nama, by Muhammad Kazixn, vii, 225, 228, 229, 231, 240-243, 245, 251-254, 296-299, 323 

Opisanie Kirgiz-Kazachikh, Hi, Kirgiz-Kaisatskikh Ord i Stepei, by A. Levshin (French translation 
by Ferry de Pigny entitled Description des Hordes et des Steppes des Kirghiz-Kazaks), 193, 
194 . 32 i 

Parallile de VExpidition d’ Alexandre dans les Indes, avec la ConquUe des mimes Contriespar Tahmas - 
Kouli-Khan, by J. P. de Bougainville, 266, 3x6 

Persia and its Military Resources, by Sir F. Goldsmid, 34, 268, 319 

Persia and the Persian Question, by Earl Curzon of Kedleston, 40, 254, 264, 271, 278, 317 

Persia Ovvero Secondo Viaggio, by Leandro di Santa Cecilia, 62, 281, 321 

(Le) Premier Consulat de France d Bassora ... by A. Martineau, 220, 235, 236, 286, 287, 322 

Raudatu‘$-§afa (Rida Quli Khan’s continuation of), 8, 15, 21, 35, 325 

Recueil des Actes Intemationaux de V Empire Ottoman, by G. Noradoungian, 255, 324 

Recueil des Trcntis et Conventions condus par la Russie avec les Puissances Etrangbres, by F. de 
Martens, 76, 322 

Reisebeschreibung, by Carsten Niebuhr, 67, 229, 230, 231, 324 

Risala-yi-Muhammad Shah (Anonymous Memoirs of Sam§amu’d-Daula Khan Dauran), 124,, 
I 34 » 316 

Ruznama (Autobiography) of Mirza Muh amm ad Shirazi, 43, 46, 73, 241-243, 301, 302, 323 
Selections from State Papers, Bombay, regarding the East India Company’s connection with the- 
Persian Gulf, with a Summary of Events, by J. A. Saldanha, 113, 213, 303, 326 

* State Papers (Despatches from the British Diplomatic Representatives at Constantinople and, 
St. Petersburg), 12, 37, etc., 302, 303, 326. 

Siyaru’l-Muta’akhkhirin, by Ghulam ^usain Tabartabai, 122, 125, 127, 130, 132, 133, 138, 140,, 
142-144, 146-148, 150, 300, 319 
Sketches of Persia, by Sir J. Malcolm, 269, 321 
Seventh Journey in Persia, by Sir Percy Sykes, x8, 327. 

TadhMra, by Anand Ram Mukhli§, 119, 123, i 2 5 > i 2 9 -i 33 . 136, 141. * 44 > 148. 150-15 2 . * 55 . 156* 
1 61, 315 

Tadkhira, by Shakir Khan, 130, 140, 143, 326 



332 INDEX OF SOURCES 

*TadhMratu‘l-Ahwal, by Shaikh Muhammad 'Ali Hazin, 9, 18, 25, 37, 39, 73, 104, 125, 140, 147, 

300. 322 

TMira-yi’Shshtariyya, by 'Abdullah ibu Nuri’d-Din, 65, 72, 77, 314 

Tagebuch des Russisch-Kaiserlkhen Generalfeld-Marschall Grafen von Munich, 89, 90, 323 

Ta’rikh-i-Ahmd, by ‘Abdu’l-Karim 'Alavi, 32, 120, 314 

Ta'rikh’i’Ahmd Shah Durrani, by Muhammad 'Abdu’r-Rahman, 32, 322 

Ta’rikhASndi, by Rustam 'Ali, 124, 132, 145, 147, 149, 154, 326 

*Ta’rikh-i-Nadiri, by Mirza Muhammad Mahdi Kaukabi Astarabadi, 3, 6, 7, 18, 20, 28, 36, 50, 
66, 153, 163, 199, 208, 209, 255, 294, 295, 325 

Ta'rikh’i-Pavj Sad Sala-yMuzisian, by Sayyid Ahmad Kasrawi, 234, 315 

Ta'rikh-i’Shahdati’Famkh Siyar u Jalus-i-Muhamad Shah, by Muhammad Bakhsh Ashub, 
47. 123 , 130-132. 136, 138, 139 . 143-I46, 148-152, 154, 323 

Ta’rikhuWausil, by Sulaiman Sa'igh, 66, 227, 229.231, 327 

Tilok Das’s Hindi poem (translated by W. Irvine), 124, 131, 138, 327 

Translations of two litters of Nadir Shah, with Introductory Observations in a letter to the President 
(of the Asiatic Society of Bengal), by Sir John Malcolm, 60, 134, 136, 139, 140, 142, 143, 321 

Travels to Bokhara, by Sir Alexander Bumes, 129, 130 

Verdadeira e Exacta Noticia, by de Voulton, viii, 133, 139, 142, 143, 147, 148, 327 

Vida de Tham Kouli-Kan, by Le Margne, viii, 321 

Voyage en Perse, by Colonel G. Drouville, 268, 318 

*Voyage en Turquie et en Perse, by Jean Otter, 100, 106, 119, 226, 306, 307, 324 

Voyages and Travels through the Russian Empire, Tartary and part of the Kingdom of Persia, by 
Dr, John Cook, 20, 85, 259, 278, 288, 309, 317 

Voyages de Basils Vatace en Europe et en Perse, translated by E, Legrand, 40, 316 

*Mdatu’t-Tawarikh, by Muhammad Muhsin, 3, 9, 25, 27, 30, 36, 54, 55, 57, 62, 63, 96, 97, 299, 

300. 3 2 3 

Zubdatu'i-T awarikh-i-Sinandiji, by Muhammad Sharif, 6, 323 



INDEX 


A 

'Abbas I, Shah, i, 2, 17, 122, 171, 271ft, 277M 
'Abbas II, Shah, 4, 271 
‘Abbas III, Shah, 62, 63, 100, 104, 177 
Abdali Afghans, they revolt in 1716, capture 
Herat and resist attempts to subdue them, 
3, 4 ; internal dissensions, 16, 31 ; they in- 
vade Khurasan, 29 : attacked and temporar- 
ily subdued by Nadir, 31-34 : their attempt 
to take Mashhad (1730), 51 : Nadir com- 
pletely subdues them, 52-54 : his efforts to 
conciliate them, 54: many enroll in his 
army, 113 : they fight against the Ghalzais, 
1 14: Nadir settles many in province of 
Qandahar, 120 : they take part in Daghi- 
stan campaign, 201 

‘Abdu’l-Baqi Khan Zangana, 97, 102, 105, 106, 
121, 131, 140, 143. 155. 180 
‘Abdu’l-Ghani ‘Ali Kuzai (Abdali general), 61, 
114, 185, 186, 201, 211 
‘Abdullah Khan Brahoi, 45, 52, 113, 117 
‘Abdu'l-Karim ibn ‘Aqibat Mahmud Kash- 
miri, 18, 21, 148, 154, 200, 274, 301, 302 
‘Abdullah ibn Husain as-Suwaidi, 233, 272, 273, 
274 

‘Abdullah Khan Sadozai, 3, 31 
‘Abdullah Pasha Kopriilu, 76, 81, 86-89, 109, 
249 

Abivard, 21, 22, 24, 27, 157, 169, 194, 195. 
196, 254 

Abraham, Catholicos of Crete, 87, 88, 97, 100, 
101, 279, 293, 31 1 

Abu’l-Faid Khan, of Bukhara, 126, 164-166, 
185, 187-189 

Abu’l-Ghazi Khan (son of Ilbaxs of Khwarizm), 
195 . 211, 2 4 °» 2 4 I * 2 45 
Abu’l-Khair Khan Qazaq, 193 
Adhaxbaijan, 8, 17, 47, 51, 64, 82, 170, 251 
Afghans (see also under Abdalis, Ghalzais, etc.), 
96, 123, 125, 131, 157, 261, 263 
Afshar tribe (see also under Qinqlu), 17, 18, 
20, 21, 22, 24, 27, 52, 54, 136, 163, 234ft, 
239, 254M, 262, 270, 273« 

Ahmad Efendi (later Pasha) Kesrieli, 248, 256 
Ahmad ibn Sa'id (founder of Al-bu Sa'id 
dynasty of Muscat), 217-219 
Ahnia/1 Khan (Usmi of the Qaraqaitaq), 7, 10, 
9 2 » 94 - 95 - 171. 205 - , 207 - * 5 * „ a . 

Ahmad Khan Abdali (afterwards Ahmad Shah 
Durrani), 31, 120, 261-263, 265, 269 
Ahmad Madani, Shaikh, 44, 65, 78, 79, 
Ahmad Pasha, of Baghdad, Succeeds his 
father as Pasha (1724), 12 : takes Hamadan, 
12 : his campaign against Ashraf, 35 : 
assists Ghalzai Afghans (g.v.) against Nadir, 
38 : ordered to arrive at understanding with 
Persia, 49: successful campaign against 


Shah Tahmasp, 56 : successful defence of 
Baghdad (1733), 67-71 : his treaty with 
Nadir, 75 : dismissed from his Pashaliq, 76 : 
appointed Sar'askar and reinstated as Pasha 
of Baghdad, 89 : empowered to make peace 
with Persia (1735), 90 : again empowered to 
do so (1736), 105 : rumoured aspiration to 
Persian throne, 179: his loyalty is ques- 
tioned, 225, 226 : Nadir’s high regard for 
him, 226 : he receives demand from Nadir 
for surrender of Baghdad and prepares for 
another siege, 227 : his relations with Nadir 
in November, 1743, and his treaty with him, 
232-234 : Porte refuses to ratify treaty, 
246, 247 

Ahmad III, Sultan of Turkey (1703/1730), 5, 
50. 5 i 

Aihal-Kalaki, 240, 248 
Akhal-TsikhA, 247, 248 
Akhnur, 155, 156 

‘Alavi Khan (Indian Hakim-Bashi), 154, 200, 
209, 275, 301 

Al-Bu Sa'id dynasty of Muscat, 217, 219, 220 
Aleppo, 223, 229, 233»t 

Alexander the Great, 120, 123, i25», 229, 266, 
307 

'Ah Akbar, Mulla-Bashi, 102, 105, 233, 280 
‘Ali Mardan Khan Shamlu, 46, 63, 121 
'Ali Pasha Hakimoghlu, 58, 76, 89, 225, 230, 
251 

‘Ali Pasha of Ganja (also known as Ganj ‘Ah 
Pasha), 85, 89, 92, 97, iox, 102, 105 
'Ali QuU Khan (afterwards ‘Adil Shah), 
made Governor of Mashhad (1737), 167: 
his profligate character, 167 : marries 
Kethewan, Taimuraz’s daughter, 170 : meets 
Nadir at Herat (1740), 186 : marries Abu’l- 
Faid's daughter at Bukhara, 189, 190 : 
accompanies Nadir on Mesopotamian expedi- 
tion and defeats Yazidis near Altun Kbpri, 
229 : assists Abu’l-Ghazi to quell revolt in 
Khwarizm, 241, 245 : he contemplates re- 
volting himself, 245: sent to suppress 
Sistan rebellion, 258: he joins the rebels, 
260 : after Nadir’s assassination, he goes to 
Mashhad and puts all Nadir’s sons to death, 
263, 264 : he seizes the throne and takes 
title of ‘Adil Shah, 264 : he is deposed and 
blinded by his brother Ibrahim, and is later 
put to death, 264, 265 

Allah Yar Khan (Abdali leader), 31-34, 51, 53 - 54 
Ambala, 133, 134 
Anatolia, 82, 105, 234 
Andijan, 165, 187 
Andkhud, 102, 112, 163, 167, 186 
Anna Ivanovna, Empress of Russia (1730/ 
1740), 58- 86, 9i», 102, 107 



INDEX 


334 


Aq Darband, battle of, 73, 74, 249% 

Aq Su (New Sha makhi ), 87, 97 . 2 39 . 2 77 

Aq Yalu tribe, 187, 188 

Araxes (Aras) river, 12, 57, 96, 170, 172 

Ardabil, 12, 13, 50, 83, 170. 238 

Ardalan, 49, 56, 179 

Arghandab river, 2, 114 

Armenia, 47, 58, 82 

Armenians, 88, 279 

Army, Persian, deplorable condition of, under 
later Safaris, 2, 34 n : wonderful effect of 
Nadir’s training and leadership, 29, 37, 268 : 
his strict enforcement of discipline, 37 : 
he increases numbers of Afghans and Tur- 
komans in it, 54, 96 : speedy recovery of, 
after defeat by Topal ‘Osman, 72 : numbers 
of, at start of Qandahar expedition, 113 : 
losses at Kamal, 140 : losses in Delhi rising, 
147 : wonderful discipline, 148 : numbers of, 
in Daghistan (1741), 201 : numbers of, in 
1743, 228 m : strong non-Persian element in, 
228M : numbers of, in 1744, 247 : Nadir's 
intention to murder Persian officers of, 261, 
262 : weakness of artillery, 67, 85, 268 
Ashrai (Ghalzai leader and Shah of Persia from 
1725 to 1729), 13, 14, 16, 35-38, 41-46, 48 
Ashrai (town), 208, 277 
Asilmas Khan (also known as Khan Jan), 

1x3. 117 

Astara, 83 

Astarabad, 6m, ii, 14, 16, 27, 177, 199, 243, 244, 
287, 292, 293, 309 

Astrakhan, 7, 10, 203, 205, 210M, 288, 303 
Aurangzib (Mughal Emperor, 1658 /1707), 115, 
116, 122, 151 
Austria, 12, 67M, 90, 223 
Avaria, 84, 85, 95, 201, 206, 207, 267 
Avar-Qoisu (river), 207 
Avramov (Russian Consul at Resht), 6, 11 

B 

Baba ‘Ali Beg Kusa Abmadlu, of Abivard, 21 
Baba Khan Chaushlu, 74, 163-165 
Baddeley, Mr. J. F., vii, 82 m, 207M 
Badghis, 54, 179 

Baghavard (also known as Eghevard and. later 
as Murad-T&ppa), first battle of (19th June, 
I 735)» 88, 89, 249M : second battle of (8th 
August, 1745), 249, 250 
Baghdad, Nadir’s unsuccessful siege of (1733), 
67-71 : Topal ‘Osman relieves the city, 71 : 
treaty of, 75, 76, 83 : Nadir demands sur- 
render of city (1743), 227 : preparations to 
withstand farther siege, 227 : second treaty 
of (November, 1743), 234, 236, 246 : Nadir 
once more demands surrender of the city 
_ (1745), 2 5 o 
Bahar Sufla, 126, 168 
Bahrain, 6, 79, 94, 108, 109, 182 
BajiRao (Maratha Peshwa), 132, 150, 153 
Bakhtiari tribesmen, 65, 109, no, 112, 113, 
118, 119, 199, 228 m, 263, 270: Chahar 
Lang branch, 109, no : Haft Lang branch, 
65, 109, no 


Baku, 11, 82, 84, 86 

Balkh, 102, 1 12, 126, 154, 161, 163-168, 187 
Ballard, Admiral G. A., 214M 
Baiuch tribesmen, 2, 8m, 112, 117, 184, 222, 260 
Baluchistan, 45, 52, 113, 117, 161 
Bam, 1 14, 253 

Bandar ‘Abbas (see also under Gombroon), 6 

65. 310 

Bannu, 158, 159 

Banyans (Hindu merchants), 46, 243 
Barda'a, 170, 248, 249 
Barka, 183, 219 

Barthold, Professor V. V., 5M, 165M, 292, 298 
Basidu, 44, 65, 79, 184 

Ba§ra, 45, 68, 75, 93, 179, 218, 227, 234-237, 267 
Bazin, Pfere Louis, S. J., 201M, 209, 257, 261, 
273, 275. 309. 3x0 
Behbehan, 77 

Behbud Khan, 244, 245, 297 
Bolan Pass, 162 

Bonnac (or Bonac), Marquis de, 11, 12, 307M 
Bonneval, Count Alexandre de, 76M, 248M, 250 
Bougainville, J. P. de, 307, 316 
Bratishchev, Vasili, 174, 206, 209M, 316 
Bukhara, 126, 164-166, 187-190, 287 
Bushire, 92, 93, 108, 182, 214-216 
Byron, Lord, 275, 276 


C 

Carmelites, 235, 236, 279, 281, 317 
Caspian Sea, 10, 86, 201, 204, 205, 287, 288 
Cassel (or Cassels), 278M 
Charak, 44, 78 

Charjui, 187, 189, 190, 195, 231 
Chechens (Caucasian tribe), 64, 77, 210 
Chenab river, 129, 155-157, 184 
Chien Lung (Tien-Tzii), Emperor of China 
from 1735 to 1795), 231 
China, 185, 231 

Chingiz Khan, of Mongolia, 1, 150, 164, 166 : 

descendants of, 164, 165, 195 
Chingiz Khan (Nadir’s son), 263, 291 
Chiragh, 203 

Cockdl, William, of the East India Co., 20, 37, 
40, 41, 47, 62, 267, 268, 272, 273, 305, 306, 

309 

Compagnie Franpaise des Indes, 220, 283M, 286 
Cong, 65, 213, 215 

Constantinople, 11, 37, 43, 48, 51, 55, 75, 76, 
82, 89, 102, 105-107, 121, 157, 223-226, 230, 
234, 237, 246-248, 251, 255, 295 
Coronation : 
of ‘Abbas III, 63 
of Nadir Shah, 96-103 
Crimea, 63, 90, 92, 106 : 

Khan of, see under Qaplan Girai 

? algha of, see under Fat]?. Girai 
atars of, 84 


D 

Daghistan, 5, 7, 12, 47, 63, 64, 83, 84, 90, 92, 
95 . 170. 17 *. 201, 203, 211, 267 
Damghan, 15, 36, 37, 54, 61 



INDEX 


335 


Darband, io, ii, 82-86, 92, 94, 95, 203-206, 
211, 288 

Darragaz, 18, 20, 27, 254 
Dastgird (or Dastajird), 18, 20, 195 

Nadir’s maulud-khana at, 20, 195, 254, 277 
Da’udputra tribe, 160, 161, igow 
Delhi, 122, 123, 125, 132-134. 136, 143. 144. 

146-150, 152-155. 277 

Deveh Boyun, 190, 191, 229# 

Dhu’l-Fiqar Khan (Abdali leader, son of 
Muhammad Zaman Khan), 31-33, 51-54, 120, 
Dimdim, 49, 83 
Dizful, 48, 109, no 
Donaldson, Dr. D. M., 77M, 279 n 
Dorrill, Thomas (of the East India Co.), 179**, 
235, 236 
Durun, 30 

Dutch East India Co., 9, 40, 41, 78, 79, 92, 215, 
283-286, 313 

E 

East India Company, the Honble., its Isfahan 
representatives go through siege, 9 : they 
are imprisoned by Ashraf, but escape, 38 : 
relations with Nadir and Shah Tahmasp, 
40, 41 : Nadir’s exactions, 41 : Gombroon 
Agent requested to lend ships to intercept 
Afghan fugitives, 44 : he is asked to sell 
ships to Nadir, 78 : vessels lent for blockade 
of Qais, 79: Tahmasp Khan Jalayir asks 
Isfahan Resident to arrange for loan of ships 
and men, and threatens serious consequences 
in event of refusal, 91, 92 : Resident wishes 
to dose factory, but is prevented, 93 : Turks 
seize two Company ships at Ba§ra and use 
them to repel Persian naval attack on town, 
93, 94 : Gombroon Agent fears reprisals and 
contemplates abandoning factory, 94 : ad- 
verse effect of Nadir’s Qandahar expedition 
bn Company’s wool trade, 113 : Persians 
commandeer all trahkeys at Gombroon for 
’’Oman expedition, 183 : they again demand 
vessels, 212 : Surat ships supplied, 215 : 
Turkish attempt to seize Company ship at 
Basra frustrated, 235 : they maltreat 
Dorrill, the Resident, 235, 236 : Company 
tries to recover its lost privileges, 283 : 
Isfahan factory, after being practically closed 
down for 7 years, is reopened in 1742, to 
meet Russia Co.’s competition, 285 : un- 
favourable trading conditions in latter part 
of Nadir’s reign, 285 : his exactions, 286 
Echmiadzin (Uch Kilisa), 56, 87, 279 
Eghevaxd, see Baghavard 
Elizabeth Petrovna, Empress, 204, 290 
Elton, Captain John, 175, 2041*, 205, 206, 221, 
222, 243, 278, 287-290, 309, 310 
Enzeli, 10, 205 

Erivan, 11, 13, 55, 56, 58, 75, 76, 87, 89-91, 96, 
170, 249, 262, 267 

Erzeroum, 49, 50, 58, 89, 90, 231, 249 

F 

Farah, 4, 31, 54, 59, 114 

Fare, 46, 60, 63, 109, 183, 190, 241 


Fasa, Pul-i-, 43 

Fath ‘Ali Khan Kayani (or Sistani), 113, 138, 
253, 258 

Fath ‘Ali Khan Kusa Ahmadlu (Nadir’s 
brother-in-law), 117, 186, 192, 201, 239 
Fath ‘Ali Khan Qajar, of Astarabad, 6 n, 14-16, 


24-27, 293 

Fath Girai, the Qalgha of the Crimea, 64, 77, 
84, 89, 90. „ • 

Fatima Sultan Begum (daughter of Shah 
Sultan Husain and wife of Rida Quli Mirza), 
42, 52, 80, 178, 264M 

Fawkener, Sir Everard (British Ambassador at 
Constantinople, 1735 j^ 6 ), 105 
Fireworks, 41, 81, 151 
Fitnak, fortress of, 191, 195 
Flag, Persian, 182 
France — 

Consular representatives in Persia, 40, 42, 282 
Policy regarding Turkey, Persia, etc., 11, 12, 
58M, 76 n, 77 

Trade in the Persian Gulf, 286 
Fraser, James, of Reelig, 20, 304-306, 318 
French, Martin (of the East India Co.), 45, 


75 . 93 . 94 „ , . 

French officers in Nadir s service, 268 


G 

Ganja, 13, 57, 75, 76, 84-87, 89, 170, 172, 239, 
267 

Gardane, Chevalier de (French Consul at 
Isfahan, 1726 / 30), 40, 42, 43, 47, 50, 308, 319 

Gauhar Shad (Nadir’s second wife and mother 
of Na§rullah and Imam Quli), 21, 80, 234, 291 

Geekie, John (of the East India Co.), 40, 41, 
81, 93, 284 

Georgia, 4, 10, xx, 47, 58, 64, 82, 91, 104, I28«, 
186, 240, 259 

Georgians, 2, 3, 86, 91, 113, 128, 169-172, 248 

Ghalzai Afghans, Rebellion of, 2, 3 : led by 
Mahmud, they besiege and take Isfahan and 
force Shah Sultan Husain to abdicate, 8, 9 : 
they attack Tahmasp. 10, 15 : Nadir defeats 
them at Mihmandust and in Khar valley, 36, 
37 : he again defeats them at Murchakhur 
and recovers Isfahan, 38, 39 : he defeats 
them once more at Zarqaa and recovers 
Shiraz, 43 : he again defeats them at Pul- 
i-Fasa, 43 : they disperse and try to escape 
to Afghanistan and ‘Oman, 44, 45 : the 
Qandahar Ghalzais assist the Abdalis against 
Nadir, 53 : for various reasons, Nadir has to 
postpone his expedition against them till 
1736 /37 : he besieges and takes Qandahar, 
and exiles Husain Sultan and many Ghalzais, 
115-120: a number join his army, 120 
Ghazi Qumuq — 

Town of, 84, 85, 95, 201 
Tribe of, 5», 7, 10, 84, 95 
Ghazi Qumuq Qoisu (river), 95 
Ghazna, 123, 124, 158, 228» 

Gilan, 10, 11, 58, 61, 86, 175, 289, 290 
GiraFi district, 27, 198 
Giiishk, 1 14, 117 



INDEX 


Giv Amilakhor (the Eristav of Ksan), 85, 104, 
1x3, 200, 240 
Gokcha, 249 

Golitzin, Prince M. M., 259 
— Prince Sergei Dimitrievich, 81-87, 259, 31 1 
Gombroon, 6, 40, 44, 78, 93, 94, 112, 113, 182- 
184, 2x2, 214, 2x5, 241, 282-284, 286, 303, 305 
Gori, 85, 247, 248 „ „ 

Gospels, Persian translation of, 280, 281 
“ Grab ” ( ghurab , an Arab type of vessel), 
182, 184 

Graeme, Mungo, 175, 287, 289 

Gubden, 94, 95, 206 

Gurgan river, 198, 301 

Gurgin Khan (Giorgi XI of Kaxtli), 2, 3 

Gwadar, 184 

H 

Hamadan, 12, 13, 47, 49, 50, 55-57, 72, 179, 246, 
247 

Hanway, Jonas, 23, 243, 244, 247, 288-290, 
308-310 

Hari Rud, 32, 53 

Hasan 'Mi Beg (later Khan), Mu'ayyiru’l- 
’ Mamalik, 24, 60, 97, 263W 
Hawiza, 57, 77, 79, 227, 234, 235 
fiazarasp, fortress of, 191, 192, 240 
Herat : Seized by rebel Abdalis (1716), 3, 31 : 
besieged and retaken by Nadir (1729), 32- 
34 : Abdalis again revolt and seize it, 51 : 
Nadir takes it again (1732), 54 : Nadir at 
Herat in 1740, 186 : ‘Ali Quli goes there 
after revolting, 260 : he leaves for Mashhad 
after learning of Nadir’s death, 263 
Hermet, Joseph (of the East India Co.), I78», 
284, 285 

Hesse-Homburg, Count von, 64, 74 n, 84 
Hilla, 67, 227, 232 

Hogg, Reynold (of the Russia Co.), i86», 193, 
194, i95», 287, 288 

Home, John (of the East India Co.), 38, 56 
Husain Pasha, of Mosul, 229, 231, 232, 246 
Husain Sultan, of Qandahar, 16, 35, 45, 49, 51, 
52, 111, X14, 116, 118-120 
Huwala Arabs, 6, 79, 94, 183, 184, 213, 216 

I 

Ibrahim Khan (Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, 
also known as Zahiru'd-Daula, Nadir’s 
brother): helps Nadir against Malik M ahm nrl, 
23 : he is surrounded by rebels, but is reliev- 
ed by Nadir (1727), 28 : defeated by Abdalis, 
51 : made Commander-in-Chief of Adhar- 
baijan forces, 104: his position in N.W. 
Persia in 1736 /37, 169, 170 : his desire to 
emulate Ri<Ja Quli's exploits, 170 : his 
Lazgi campaign, 171, 172 : his defeat and 
death, 172 : his character, 173 : Nadir's 
desire to avenge his death, 173, 186 
Ibrahim Khan (originally known as Muham- 
mad ‘Ali Beg, second son of Ibrahim Khan), 
238, 264, 291 

Ilbars Khan, of Khwarizm, 126, 165-169, 174, 
185, 190-192, 211 

Ilyas Kh a n (son of ‘Abdullah Khan Brahoi), 
113, 117 


Imam of Muscat (see Saif ibn Sultan, Ahmad 
ibn Sa'id.) 

Imam Quli Beg (Nadir’s father), 18, 20, 21 
Imam Quli Mirza (Nadir’s third son), 21, i4o», 
180, 198, 226, 234, 263, 291 
Imam Rida (see Rida, Imam ‘Ali ar-) 

Imam Verdi Beg (later Khan) Qiriqlu, 116, 215 
Inaqs (elders and military chiefs of Khwarizm), 
192, 195. 2ix« 

India (see Mughal Empire) 

Indus, 129, 133, 153, 157 
Irakli II (son of Taimuraz), of Kakheti, 128, 
155M, 240, 247, 259, 311 
Iran Kharab (Nadir’s camp in Daghistan), 
206, 207 

Irtaq Inaq, Ataliq of Khwarizm, 21 1», 240, 245 
Isfahan : besieged and taken by Ghalzais in 
1722, 8, 9 : massacre of Safavi princes at, 
13 : execution of ex-Shah Sultan Husain at, 
35 : Ghalzais, after repeated defeats, evacu- 
ate city (1729), 38 : entry of Tahmasp, 39 : 
harsh behaviour of Nadir and his troops, 42 : 
deposition of Tahmasp and enthronement 
of ‘Abbas III, 61-63 : Nadir accorded a 
great reception at (1734), 81 : Nadir’s visit 
before Qandahar and Indian expeditions, 
110-113 : Nadir’s cruelties at (1745/46), 
251, 252 : his barbarous behaviour during 
his last visit (December, 1746/January, 

1747). I 2 57- 2 59 
Isma'il Khan Khazima, 75 
Isma'il Mirza (brother of Shah Tahmasp), 58, 
59 

Isma'il Mirza (younger son of Shah Tahmasp), 
104, 177, 178 

Isma'il, Shah, 16, 99, 122, 255 

J 

Jabbara Kaukani, Shaikh, of Tahiri, 6, 79, 
108 

Ja‘faru'$-Sadiq (the Vlth Imam), 99, 101, 233, 

279 

Ja'fari sect, 101, 102, 121, 210, 224, 226, 233, 
250, 256, 279 
‘ alalabad, 1 25-1 27, 157 
Talayir tribe, 22, 27 
Jamrud, 127, 128 
Janissaries, 67, 87, 230, 249 
Jar (Lazgi colony in Qaniq valley), 4, 86, 129, 
171, 172, 201 

Jazayirchis (infantry armed with the heavy 
musket known as the jazayir), 66, 74, 95, 
136, 138, 144, 147, 172, 174, 187, 242, 267 
Jesuits (see also under Bazin, des Vignes, etc.), 
149, 275, 279, 280, 310, 311 
ones, Sir William, ioi«, 13m, 295, 296, 310 
ulfar (Ra’su'l-Khaima), 44, 182-184, 216, 219, 
221 

Jumna, 134, 135, 150 

K 

Kabarda, 210 

Kabul, 124-127, 146, 154, 157, 158, 185, 243, 
253, 287 



INDEX 


337 


Kakh, 129, 1 71, i72» 

Kakheti, 57, 84, 91, 204, 248 
Kalat-i-Nadiri, 20, 22, 23, 27, 80, 98, 195, 
198, 214, 244, 254, 261, 263, 277 
Kalb ‘Ali Beg (later Khan) Kusa Ahmadlu 
(Nadir’s brother-in-law), 114, ii7», 186, 216, 
218, 241, 242 

Kalnshkin (Russian Ambassador to Persia, 
I 735 "i 74 2 )» 9 i, 92 , 101, 104W, 107, 199, 
200, 204, 206, 303, 31 1 
Karbala, 67, 75, 77, 227, 232 
Karmelis, 229 

Kamal, 21, 131, 133-136, 143: Battle of, 
136-140 

Kartli, 2, 10, 57, 82, 91, 104, 200, 204, 248 

Kashgaxia, 297 

Kazimain, 66, 67, 75, 77, 232 

Khabushan, 16, 23-25, 27, 61, 198, 260, 261 

Khaibar pass, 127, 128, 157, 267 

Khan Dauran (see Samsamu’d-Daula) 

Khanqa, 192, 193, 240, 297 
Khar valley, 37 

Khass Fulad, 84, 90, 92®, 94, 95, 203, 205 
Khitai, 189, 231, 251 

Khiva, 24, 166, 167, 186, 190, 192-195, 201, 
21 1, 240, 287 

Khivaqabad, 194-196, 245, 277 
Khojend, 165, 185, 187 
Khoqand, 297 
Khor Fakkan, 182, 212 
Khotan, 231K, 251 

Khudayar Khan, of Sind, 52, 157, 158, 160, 161 
Khulafa, Mirza Kafi Nasiri (Persian Ambassa- 
dor to Russia), 87M, 199 
Khunzakh, 201, 267 

Khurasan, 15, 17, 23, 31, 36, 47, 65, 79, 102, 
109, no, 163, 167, 174, 185, 245, 265 
Khuxramabad, 77 
Khutba, 145, 153, 188 
Khuzistan, 57, 75, 228» 

Khwaja Rabi‘, 25, 51 

Khwarizm, 126, 165, 167, 185, 190-192, 195, 
211, 240, 241, 245, 297, 299, 301 
KinnouQ, Earl of (British Ambassador at 
Constantinople, 1730/1735), 48*, 57 , 7 6 
Kirkuk, 66, 73, 228, 229, 230, 267 
Kirrnan, 8, 43, 44, 94. «*, H 3 , 242, 253*, 254, 
257,259,286 

Kirmanshah, 12, 47, 49, 50, 65, 72, 82, 97, 228, 
237, 246 

Koh-i-Nor diamond, 152, 263» 

Ksan, 85, 200, 240 

Kubkan, viii, 17, 18, 20 

Kuhgilu, 48, 75, 77, 109, 184 

Kuh-i-Khwaja, fortress of, 258 

Kura river, 12, 58, 83, 85, 96, 170, 211, 249 

Kurdan, 254, 255 

Kurdistan, 6, 47, 240 

Kurds, 24, 31, 270 

Chamishgazak,i7, 23, 28, 30, 113, 118, 227, 234 
Khabushani, 23, 27, 260, 261 
Qaxachorlu, 28, 30, 43, 67 
Shadillu, 28 

Kurijan, Battle of, 56, 57 
Kuiram valley, 158, 159, 198, 301 


L 

Lahore, 130, 131, 155, 228*1 
Lailan, Battle of, 73 
Lam, Bani, 68, 71, 235, 236M 
Lar, 6, 44, 78 
Larkana, 160, 161 

Latif Khan (Nadir’s “ Admiral of the Gulf' ’), 
78, 79, 92-94, i°8, 182, 183 
Lazgis (or Lesghis). (See also under Jar, Tala 
and Ghazi Qumuq), 4, 83, 86, 87, 92, 94, 95, 
169, 171, 172, 186, 200, 2or, 203, 231, 240M, 
249, 267 

Lerch, Dr. J. J., 81, 83, 209 
LeszczynsM, Stanislaus, 76 », 89 
Levashev, General, 10, 3o», 50, 84, 85 
Luristan, 6, 65, 74, 228 
Luff 'Ali Beg Adhar (author of the Aiash- 
Kada), 23 n, 62 », 276, 277, 321 
Luff ‘Ali Beg (later Khan) Kusa Alimadlu 
(Nadir’s brother-in-law), 66, 188, 189 


M 

Maclagan, Sir E. D., vii, 158s, 159M 
Madhi, Mirza (see Muhammad Mahdi Kaukabi 
Astarabadi, Mirza 

Mahmud I, Sultan of Turkey {1730/1754), 51, 

■z6gn 

Mahmud, Malik, Sistani, 6, 15, 22-24, 28, 113 
Mahmud (son of Mir Wais ; Shah of Peris 
1722 /1725, 3, 4, 8-10, 13, 14, 16, 23 
Maimana, 53 
Majalis, 94 

Makran, 113, 117, 184, 190, 212 
Malcolm, Sir John, 21, 60, 151, 209, 302 
Mandali, 65, 66, 71, 72 
Maragha, 49, 82, 83, 195, 214, 254 
Marathas, 132, 150, 151 
Martineau, A., 220, 322 
Maxuchaq. 51, 54, 163, 179, 186 
Mashhad, Captured by Malik Mahmud Sistani, 
15 : Nadir goes there and serves under him 
for a time, 22 : besieged and taken by Nadir 
and Tahmasp, 26, 27: Nadir repairs and 
embellishes the shrine of the Imam Rida, 
27 : Abdalis unsuccessfully besiege Mashhad 
in 1730, 51, 52 : Tahmasp imprisoned there 
temporarily, after his deposition (1732) : 
Rida Quli sent there as Vali of Khurasan, 
102, 163 : 'Ali Quli Khan made Governor 
of the city, 167 : danger of attack by Hbars, 
169 : Mashhad the seat of the vice-regal 
government from 1738 to 1740, 174 : Timm’s 
tombstone sent there from Samarqand, 188, 
198 : Nadir returns it to Samarqand : 
Mashhad the capital of his empire, 197: 
his donations to the shrine of Imam Rida, 
197, 277 : his cruelties at Mashhad in 1746, 
252 : his brutal behaviour there in April, 
1747, 260 

Masqat (see Muscat) 

Mau §51 (see Mosul) 

Mazandaxan, ix, 14, 15, 27, 30, 120, 2x4, 215, 
274 . 277 


Z 



INDEX 


Mecca, pilgrimage to, ioi, 108, 225, 255 
Merv, 21, 23, 24, 28, 97. i6 4 , 17*. * 95 , 2 “ w > 
231. 253, 263, 297 
Mihmandust, battle of, 36, 37 
Moscow, ii, 290, 311 

Mosul (Mausil), 69, 97, 229-232, 246, 250, 267 
Mughal Empire, Nadir sends envoy to request 
closing of Afghan frontier (1730), 46, 47: 
.request repeated (1732), _ 63 : Mughals' 
failure to comply causes Nadir to send further 
mission (1737), 116, 117 : decadent state of 
Empire, 122 : detention of Persian envoy 
122 : rival factions at court, 122 : Nadir 
crosses frontier (May, 1738), 123 : reason, 
for his invasion, 123, 124 : fall of Ghazna 
and Kabul, 124, 125 : Mughals’ failure to 
strengthen frontier gajrisons, 125 : Nadir 
surprises Mughal force in Khaibar pass, 127, 
128 : fall of Peshawar, 129 : Emperor leaves 
Delhi with his army, 131 : battle of Kamal, 
136-139 : Muhammad Shah surrenders, 141 : 
Persian occupation of Delhi, 144 : terrible 
events there, 146-150 : Nadir’s forced levy, 
151, 152 : territories west of Indus ceded to 
Persia, 153 : Nadir's return march, 155-162 : 
invasions of Nadir and Ahmad Shah Durrani 
greatly accelerate process of decline of Em- 
pire and facilitate establishment of British 
supremacy, 269 

Mughan plain (Chul-i-Mughan), The, 95-97. 

104, xo8, 2x1, 226, 279 
Mughanlis, 239 

Muhabbat Khan (eldest son of ‘Abdullah Khan 
Brahoi), 113, 117, 158M, 161 
Muhammad 'Ali Hazin, Shaikh, 9, 25M, 37 n, 
39 , 44 , 140, 300 

Muhammad, ‘Ali Khan ibn Aslan Khan, 46, 
59, 60, 63 

Muhammad Ilasan Khan Qajar (son of Fath 
‘Ali Khan), 14M, 243-245 
Muhammad Husain Khan Qiriqlu, 218, 241-243 
Muhammad Husain Khan (Yokharibash Qajar, 
of Astarabad), 177, 208, 244, 262 
Muhammad Ibrahim Khan (see Ibraham Khan) 
Muhammad Kazim, Wazir of Merv, 21, 98, 117, 
119, 166, 168, 170, 171, 173, 174, 178, 180, 
186, 252-254, 296-299 

Muhammad Khan Baluch, 48, 72, 74, 75, 77-79, 
109 

Muhammad Khan Turkoman, 23, 116, 117, 122, 
123 

Muhammad Mahdi Kaukabi Astarabadi, Mirza, 
3, 18, 20, 26, 60, 104, 256, 285, 292-296, 299, 
300 

Muhammad Muhsin (author of the Zubiatu’U 
Tawarikh), 3, 4, 9, 62, 97, 299, 300 
Muham m ad, Pir, of Herat, 27, 97, 113, 117 
Muhammad Rahim Bi, Hakim Ataliq of Buk- 
hara, 164, 187-189 

Muhammad Saidal Khan (Ghalzai General), 
, 35 »> 36. 43 , 53 . 1 14, 116 
Muhammad Shah (Mughal Emperor, 1719 / 
1748), 46,63, 122, 131-133, 135, 136, 138, 140, 
* 4 *-S 45 . 147 . i 4 S, 152, 153, 161 
Muh a mm ad, son of Surkhai, 63, 231, 239 


Muhammad Taqi Khan Shirazi, 80, 108, 109, 
156, 173, 176, 182-184, 190, 215-219, 241-243, 
283 

Muhammad Zaman Khan Qajar, 243, 244 
Muhammad Zaman Khan Sadozai (father of 
Dhu’l-Fiqar and Ahmad Khan), 31, 261 
Muhas?ils (tax collectors), 41, 239, 241, 243, 253 
Mulla-Bashi, 

'Abdu’l-Hasan, execution of, at Mughan, 99 : 
'Ali Akbar, appointment of, 102 
Munif Efendi (Turkish ambassador), 224 
Murad-T&ppa (see under Baghavard) 

Muravin (Russian engineer officer and geodetic 
expert), 193 

Murchakhur, Battle of, 38, 39, 46 

Muscat (Masqat), 6, 44, 182-184, 216, 219, 241 

Mustafa Khan, 256 

Mustafa Pasha (son of Qara Mustafa Pasha, 
Turkish Ambassador to Persia, 1736), 106, 
hi, 120, 121 


N 

Nadir Shah, his humble origin, 17-20 : early 
life, 20, 21 : enters service of Baba ‘Ali Beg, 
21 : he marries his daughter, 21 : birth of 
Rida Quli, 21 : he marries Gauhar Shad, 21 : 
rivalry with Malik Mahmud. 22-24 : early 
relations with Tahmasp, 24, 25 : rivalry with 
Fath, 'Ali Khan Qajar, 26 : siege of Mashhad, 
26, '27 : he receives title of Tahmasp Quli 
Khan, 26 : capture of Mashhad, 27 : differ- 
ences with Tahmasp, 27-30 : he attacks and 
subdues Abdali Afghans, 31-34 : his cam- 
paign against Ghalzai Afghans, 36 : his 
victory at Mihmandust, 36 : effects of his 
careful training of his men and his skilful 
leadership, 37 : his victories in Khar valley 
and at Murchakhur, 37, 38 : he recovers 
Isfahan and instals Tahmasp on throne, 39 : 
his attitude towards East India Company’s 
representatives there, 40, 41 : his arbitrary 
behaviour at Isfahan, 41, 42 : de Gardane’s 
impressions of him, 42, 43 : he defeats 
Afghans at Zarqan and Fasa and recovers 
Shiraz, 43 : collapse of Ghalzais, 44, 45 : his 
first Turkish campaign, 48, 49 : he recovers 
Tabriz, but is prevented from following up 
this success by the Abdali revolt, 50, 51 : 
marriage of his son Ri<jla Quli to Tahmasp’s 
sister, 52 : his successful campaign against 
Abdalis, 53, 54 : he denounces Tahmasp’s 
treaty with Turkey, 59, 60 : he takes advan- 
tage of Tahmasp’s defeat to discredit him, 
60 : he deposes the Shah and places the 
infant ‘Abbas Mirza on throne, with himself 
as Regent, 62, 63 : he suppresses Bakhtiari 
revolt, 65 : he invades Mesopotamia, 66 : 
he besieges Bahgdad, 67-71 : his defeat by 
Topal ‘Osman, 71 : his astonishing recovery, 

72 : he defeats Topal ‘Osman at Aq Darband, 

73 : Nadir’s treaty with AJmriad Pasha 
(19th December, 1733), 75, 76 : he crushes 
Muhammad Khan Baluch’s revolt, 78 : 
close parallels between Nadir and Timur, x, 



INDEX 339 


80, 8i, 150, 266: Nadir receives Prince 
Golitzin, 81, 82 : he decides to attack Turkey 
again, 82 : he recovers Shamakhi from 
Surkhai, 83 : he threatens to attack Russia, 
84 : after subduing Lazgis he besieges 
Ganja, 85, 86 : treaty of Ganja between 
Russia and Persia, 86 : sieges of Qar?, Tiflis 
and Erivan, 87 : great victory at Bagha- 
vard, 88 : surrender of Ganja and Tiflis, 89 : 
Turkey offers peace terms, 90, 91 : surrender 
of Erivan, 91 : Nadir makes Bushire his 
naval base, 92 : Persian naval attack on 
Ba?ra, 93, 94 : further operations in Daghi- 
staa, 94, 95 : Nadir convenes a qurulta’i 
(national council) on Mughan plain, 96, 97 : 
death of Mulla-Bashi, 99 : Nadir orders 
substitution of Sunni for Shi'a doctrine, 99, 
100 : his embassy to Turkey, 101 : the coro- 
nation, 102, 103 : truce between Persia and 
Turkey, 106 : further edict against Shi'a 
practices issued at Qazvin, 107, 108 : Nadir 
crushes further Bakhtiari revolt, 109, no: 
preparations for Qandahar expedition, 112, 
113 : the march to Qandahar, 113-115 : 
siege and capture of Qandahar, 1 15-120: 
Nadir’s reasons for invading India, 122-124 : 
capture of Ghazna and Kabul, 124, 125 : 
Nadir's meeting with Rida Quli at Bahar 
Sufla, 126 : he crosses Tsatsobi pass and 
defeats Indians under Nasir Khan, 127, 128 : 
he reaches Peshawar, 129 : he crosses Indus, 
Jhelum, Chenab and Ravi and captures 
Lahore, 129-131 : he advances via Sirhind 
and Ambala to Kamal, 131-134 : his victory 
over the Emperor’s forces at Kamal, 136- 
140 : his meetings with the Nizamu’l-Mulk, 
the Emperor and Sa'adat Khan, 1 40-1 43 : 
he proceeds to Delhi, 143, 144 : he orders 
massacre at Delhi in retaliation for attacks 
on his troops, 148 : marriage of his son 
Na^rullah to great-granddaughter of Aurang- 
zib, 1 51 : he extorts tribute from the 
Emperor and his people, 152 : he forces 
Emperor to cede provinces west of Indus, 
153 : his departure from Delhi, 154, 155 : 
he proceeds via Sirhind, Akhn ur and Rawal 
Pindi to Peshawar and Kabul, 155-157 : 
his expedition against Khudayar Khan, 158- 
161 : he returns to Nadirabad via Gandava, 
the Bolan pass and Shal, 162 : Nadir up- 
braids Rigla Quli and Tahmasp Khan Jalayir 
for invading Transoxiana, 166, 168: his 
reasons for invading Turkistan, 185 : his 
halt, at Herat, 186 : he crosses Oxus and 
defeats Ozbegs near Bukhara, 187, 188 : he 
receives submission of Abu’l Faid, 188 : he 
tD2xch.es. against Ilbars of Khwarizm and 
d^ests him near Frtaak and forces him to 
surrender at Khanqa, 191, 192 : he puts 
to death, 192 : he besieges and cap- 
tures Khiva, 194 : he sets up Tabic Beg as 
ruler of Khwarizm, ig5 : he returns via 
Merv to Kalat, where he deposits his 
treasures, 195 : he spends two months at 
197 : his gifts to the shrine of 


Imam Rida, 198 : his tomb at Mashhad, 198 : 
he leaves for Daghistan, 198 : attempt on his 
life, 199 : his threatening attitude towards 
Russia, 200 : he leaves Rida Quli at Tehran 
in apparent disgrace, 200 : his unsuccessful 
attempt to reach Avaxia, 201 : his army is 
harassed by the Daghistanis, 203 : he deter- 
mines to have a Caspian fleet, 204 : his 
reverses in Tabarsaran, 205 : he comes into 
contact with Elton, 205 : his camp at Iran 
Kharab, 206 : he again fails to penetrate to 
Avaria and is defeated by the Lazgis, 206, 
207 : Rida Quli accused of instigating 
attempt on his life, 207-209 : he has Rida 
Quli blinded, 209: terrible effects of this 
incident on him, 209, 276: he threatens 
Russia with war, but hostile moves by 
Turkey divert his attention, 2x0 : his failure 
in Daghistan impairs his prestige, 2x1 : he 
decides to build his own ships at Bushire, 
213-215 : ultimate failure of his 'Oman 
designs, 219, 220 : reasons why his bid for 
sea power failed, 222 : he threatens Turkey 
again, 224 : his wish to conclude an alliance 
with Great Britain, 225 : he demands sur- 
render of Baghdad and invades Mesopo- 
tamia, 227 : he takes Kirkuk and Arbil and 
invests Mosul, 229, 230 : news of revolt 
in Shirvan and of Turkish threat to Adhar- 
baijan causes him to raise siege of Mosul, 231, 
232 : he visits Ka?imain, Muazzam and 
Karbala, 232 : he convenes assembly of 
'ulama at Najaf, 232-234 : his treaty with 
Ahmad Pasha, 234 : he withdraws to Shah- 
raban to await Porte’s decision on treaty, 
237 : news of revolts in Persia cause him 
to cross frontier, 237 : rebellions in Shirvan 
and Khwarizm are followed by more serious 
revolt in Fars, 241 : defeat and capture of 
Taqi Khan, 242 : Nadir’s vengeance, 243 : 
rebellion in Astarabad, 243, 244 : further 
rising in Khwarizm, 245 : on failure of Porte 
to ratify the treaty. Nadir crosses Turkish 
frontier and besieges Qar?, 248 : approach 
of winter makes him raise siege, 248 : he 
subdues the Lazgis, 249 : his illness when: en 
route to Gotcha, 249 : his great victory over 
the Turks at Baghavard (August, 1745K 25 ° : 
peace moves, 250, 251 : Nadir goes to 
Isfahan, 251 : his harsh behaviour there and 
at Hasanabad and Mashhad, 251, « 5 * = bis 
terrible exactions, 253 : the Sistan revolt, 
253 : Nadir’s visit to Kalat, 354 : he signs 
treaty of peace with Turkey (September, 
1746), 255 : he renounces his demand for 
recognition of Ja’fari sect, 256 : signs of in- 
creasing mental derangement, 237* “is 
appalling behaviour a* Isfahan, 238 : his 
exactions drive ‘Ali Quli to join Sudani 
rebels, 258 : Nadir’s brutality at M ashh a d, 
260 : he goes to Khabusfaan to ptuflsh 
Kurds, 261 : he plans to pot his Persian 
officers to death, 261 : his assassinat i on at 
Fathabad, 262 : his prowess as a military 
leader, 266-269 : his attainments as a states- 



340 


INDEX 


man and ruler, 269-272 : his personal appear- 
ance, character and tastes, 272-274 : his 
health and its effects upon his actions, 274- 
276 : his attitude towards the arts, 276-278 : 
his attitude towards religion, 278-281 
Nadirabad, 115, 161, 162, 184, 185, 186, 277 
Nadiri (coin), 119 
Naficy. Professor Sa'id, i8m, 302 
Najaf, 67, 75, 77, 121, 227, 232, 233, 250, 272 
Nakhichevan, 13, 55, 56, 170, 279 
Nannawat, Afghan custom of, 119, 120 
Nasa, 157 

Nasaqchis (military police), 97, 1x9, 146 
Na$ir Aqa, 23, 244 

Nasir Khan, Subadar of Kabul and Peshawar, 
125, 127, 128, 131 

Na?rullah Mirza (Nadir's second son), Birth, 21 : 
commands left wing of the Persian forces 
before Karnal, 135 : in command of the 
centre during the battle, 138 : sent to meet 
Muhammad Shah, 141 : his marriage to 
daughter of Yazdan Bakhsh, 151 : made 
Viceroy of Persia in place of his brother 
Rida Quli, 180 : goes to Bukhara with 
Nadir, bu|rts sent back to Mashhad before 
his father attacks Ilbars, 190 : he is made 
Governor of Khurasan, 198 : sent to Khwar- 
amto quell revolt, 211 : he helps to suppress 
Shrrvan rebellion, 239 : attempt to assassin- 
ate him, 240 : his victory over the Turks near 
Mosul in 1745, 250 : after Nadir’s assassina- 
tion he attempts to escape to Merv, but is 
^overtaken, captured and put to death, 263 
Nava 1, Mir All Shir, 292, 293 
Navy, Persian : 

Persian Gulf Fleet : Nadir first grasps im- 
portance of s<» power (1734), 78 : reasons why 
he desired a fleet of his own, 78, 79 : ’Ruglicit 
and Dutch, being unwilling to sell ships 
direct, suggest purchase at Surat, 70 : 
excellence of Surat-built ships, 79 : British 
vessels bought at Bushire, 93 : Persian naval 
attack on Ba$ra frustrated by two British 
vessels which the Turks seized, manned and 
used against the Persians (1735), 93 cu • 
successful expedition to Bahrain (1736)’, 108 
* 29 : flrst Oman expedition (1737), 182' 
mn+i« Ta< ¥ J P 13 ^‘ S “Sga-rdly ways provoke 

?rw£ ° 1 - A S b 183, 184 : Taqi 

Khans disastrous Sind expedition, 184- 

furtter mutmy in 1740, 212 : naval action 
between Dutch ships and mutineer vessels 
2 *3 : Nadir decides to build his own 
!!“;P S ™ Bus ^ lre ( i 74 1 ). 213 : timber brought 
Mazandaran, 2x4 : keel of large vessel 

21 ?• : death of Sardar Imam 
Verdi Khan in action off Qais, 2x5 : new 
ships from s uxat, 215 : second ‘Oman 

6 7 i 2) ’. 2 I f : ca P ture of Muscat, 
g j, d ® ^ P laced m charge of ship- 

building at Bushire, 220: failure of the 
enterprise, 220, 221 : large fleet in being in 

22 * * deca y se ^ s in, 221 : eventual 
“hure, 22i, 222 

Caspian Flea: Russian monopoly of ship- 


ping on Caspian makes Nadir seek to have 

his own ships 204 : his relations with CapS 
Elton, 205 : Elton builds ships for him? 28^ 

sss sr enment ' s *— sSt 

N p£ 8 uS', S ? 24, < TraM * amba^ador to 

Nepluiev, Ivan (Russian Resident at Con- 
stantinople), ii, 64, 89, 106 

Nicod&ne, Jean (Topal ‘Osman’s French 
physician), 68m, 70M, 71 ca 

209 adam (Nadir ’ s would -he assassin), 207. 

Nishapur, 28, 29, 36, X20 
Nizamu’l-Mulk (Chin Qilich Khan), 124, i%» 
XT 13 *. 133, 136, 139-142. 148 4 ’ 3 ’ 

Nutzal (title of the ruler of Avaria), 201 


‘Oman, 6, 78, 109, 182-184, 212, 216-221, 241, 

Ostermann, Count, 90M, 91 

Otter, Jean, io6w, xo8m, 158, 177^ x8o 181 
306, 307 

Oudh, 124, 132, 133, 150 

Oxus river, 126, 154, 164-167, 187, 189-92 

I26, I57 ' l63 ' 167 . l88 ' 


Panipat, 133, 134, i 44 
Panjab, 123, 129 
Peacock throne, 1 52 

Peirson, J. (of the East ludia Company) 
243, 252, 257 , 275, 285 P Yh 

Persian Gulf, 6, 44, 78, 79, 108, 182, 184, 212- 
222, 241, 284, 290, 298, 303, 304, 307 

PeW y[ ar - r I25 V 127 " 129 ' *46, 157. I 73 » 228 n 
Peter the Grea.t, 5-7, xo, xx, 13, 16, 86, 286 

Polish Succession, War of, 76, 89, 91 
Porterie, De la, 220 

Qabala, 84, 85 ^ 

Qa'in, 28, 252 

Qais, island of, 78, 79, 212, 215 
Qajars, 17, 243 

Ashaqbash (of Astarabad), 6, 243, 244 
Yottmbath (of AstaxabM), '*77^44 

Qalat (or Kalat, in Baluchistan), xi 7 
Qal at-i-Ghalzai, 116, 117 
Qalgha (high Crimean dignitary), 63 
Q S'?Tn (MaWxmid Shah’s 

d 'P ai i la )' I 32 > HO , I47, 148, 274 

Qandahar, seized by Mir Wais, the rebel 
Ghalzai leader, 3 : later ruled by Mahmud 
and then by IJusain, Mir Wais’s sons, 3, 16 : 
besieged by Nadir (1737-38), x 15-119 : 
surrenders to him (23rd M 4 rch, i 73 8), 119, 

Qaniq valley, 4, 171, 239 



INDEX 


Qaplan Girai, Khan of the Crimea, 63, 89, go- 
92, 94, 106 
Qarakul, 187, 188 

Qaraqaitaq tribe, 7, 10, 92, 171, 203, 206, 207 

Qaraqalpaq tribe, 165, 169, 245 

Qara Thpph (Badghis), 179, 186, 208 

Qara Tappfi (Mesopotamia), 66, 73M, 232 

Qar§, 86, 87, 231, 247-251, 267 

Qarshi, 126, 164-167 

Qazaqs, 165-167, 169, X93, 201 

Qazrin, 9, 10, 13, 35, 96, 107-109, 200, 2 oi, 277 

Qiriqlu Afshars, 17, 18, 52 

Qoja Khan Shaikhanlu, 227, 234-236 

Qum, 14, 61 

Qubba, 95M, 239 

Qumiq tribe, 205, 206 

Qumuq (see Ghazi Qumuq) 

Qunduz, 126, 164, 167, 168 
Qungrat tribe, 164, x66, 187, 199 n, 297 
Qurulta’i, 96 


R 

Radiyya Begum (sister of Tahmasp Shah and 
wife of Nadir), 42, 169M, 232 
Rahim Sultan, of Merv, 177, 195, 208 
Ram Hormuz, 48, 77 
Rashid, Shaikh, of Basidu, 44, 79 
Ravi river, 130 
Rawal Pindi, 157 

Resht (see also under Treaties), 6m, 58, 84, 289 
Rida, Imam ‘Ali ar-. Shrine of, at Mashhad, 
vii, i8», 27, 61, 178, 197, 264M, 277 
Rida Quli Mirza, Birth, 21 : betrothal to 
Fatima Sultan Begum, 42 : his marriage, 
52 : birth of his son Shahrukh, 80 : Rida 
Quli made Vali of Khurasan, 102 : his 
Turkistan campaign, 126, 163 : he takes 
Andkhud and Balkh, 163, 164 : without 
authorisation fro